Department for International Development
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£50m puts developing countries at the forefront of green energy revolution

£50m puts developing countries at the forefront of green energy revolution

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 16 December 2009

Some of the world’s poorest nations will be thrust to the forefront of the global green energy revolution with the help of a £50 million commitment from the UK Government.

The funding, part of the UK commitment to provide "fast start" climate finance before 2012, will see the UK become the largest contributor to a £160 million global initiative to help boost the renewable energy sector in low-income countries.

The new programme, which has become operational this week, will not only help countries lower their carbon emissions but also bring new sources of energy to populations with little access to electricity. In Africa just 23 per cent of people have access to regular electricity, and in many countries the figure is below 10%.

The programme will encourage governments and the private sector in at least five low income countries to scale up investment in renewables such as large-scale wind turbine arrays and small hydroelectric power plants

Gareth Thomas, International Development Minister, said:

“The world’s poorest countries need energy to power the schools, hospitals and industry that are needed to escape poverty. It is vital that this demand is met through clean, renewable sources.

“This pioneering global programme will help put developing countries at the forefront of the green energy revolution, offering a route away from fossil fuels and towards a low carbon future.”

The programme will support at least five low income countries to transform their energy sectors, making them more accessible, reliable, and sustainable.

It will:

· Help developing world governments to scale-up the building of wind, geothermal, biomass and small hydroelectric power plants by offering practical, financial and policy support;

· Make investing in renewable energy less risky by underwriting the additional capital costs associated with renewable energy; and

· Encourage private sector investment in renewables by providing initial start-up funding.

Over the next twenty years around 90% of the increase in global energy demand will come from developing countries. How to feed this increased demand with renewable energy is a key issue currently being addressed at Copenhagen.

The Scaling-up Renewable Energy Programme (SREP) is a multi-donor programme administered by the World Bank. Other donors include the Netherlands (£50 million), Norway (£16 million) and Switzerland (£12 million). The US also pledged £31 million to the fund on Monday.

Notes to Editors

The Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) is a new sub-programme established under the Strategic Climate Fund (SCF), which is part of the Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) administered by the World Bank. It will focus on the deployment of renewable energy in a small number of low income countries.The UK pledged its £800 million Environmental Transformation Fund-International Window to the Climate Investment Funds, Congo Basin Forest Fund and Forest Carbon Partnership Facility in 2008. The UK contribution to SREP comes from this commitment. The US pledge of £31 million on Monday pushed the total funding for SREP over the £153 million (US$250 million) minimum required for the project to become operational.

Contacts:

James Fulker.
Phone: 020 70230533
j-fulker@dfid.gov.uk

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