Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, has confirmed that the UAE is proceeding with grants totalling US$34.5 million (AED126.7 million) to fund renewable energy projects in the Caribbean that are built to withstand Category-5 hurricanes and located for enhanced resilience.
This amount builds on $15mn of projects announced last year as part of the UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy under Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation.
The announcement was made at the second annual Bloomberg Global Business Forum, held on the sidelines of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, USA, where Minister Al Zeyoudi was invited to speak in the climate segment with President Bill Clinton and Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank.
Addressing the forum, Minister Al Zeyoudi said, “The UAE is honoured to have partnered with over 30 island countries since 2013 to implement renewable energy projects that reduce energy costs and create jobs.
“Today’s announcement on our partnership in the Caribbean builds on this legacy, simultaneously expanding our cooperation into climate resilience.”
We realised that the kind of projects we pursue had to change. As a result, we have implemented a resilience standard for all of our Caribbean projects that reflects the reality of climate vulnerability in the region. Inspired by this precedent, we are now preparing for global roll-out of a resilience standard across over $5 billion of annual aid from the UAE.”“Hurricanes Irma and Maria were a wake-up call for us,” Minister Al Zeyoudi added. “We realised that the kind of projects we pursue had to change. As a result, we have implemented a resilience standard for all of our Caribbean projects that reflects the reality of climate vulnerability in the region. Inspired by this precedent, we are now preparing for global roll-out of a resilience standard across over $5 billion of annual aid from the UAE.”
The Minister described plans for 7 new projects in Belize, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia.
He also announced that the UAE had increased its allocation by 50% to the rebuilding of the Barbuda power system, devastated by Hurricane Irma, in order to relocate and strengthen its main plant, where a solar and battery solution will be installed.
The Minister additionally announced that the UAE will allocate $12mn for the next cycle of the fund, to be launched in January 2019 at the Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
In tandem with the Bloomberg Global Business Forum, Minister Al Zeyoudi also participated in the One Planet Summit organized by President Emmanuel Macron of France. The UAE is a core member of a sovereign wealth fund working group on carbon accounting, announced under the summit.
UAE foreign aid for renewable energy has reached nearly $1bn since 2013. In addition to the UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund, the UAE notably has launched the $50mn UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund, which has implemented projects in 11 Pacific island countries, and runs a $350 million soft loan facility with IRENA.
Credit: Baset Asaba, Middle East Utilities