From its inception in 1971 up to December 2018, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the leading national entity for international development aid, has financed hundreds of development projects in the renewable energy sector around the world worth AED4.4 billion (US$1.187 billion).
Driving the objectives of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), these projects have contributed to the production of about 2,584 MW of renewable energy in different countries.
Since 1974, ADFD has contributed to financing about AED2.7 billion (US$737 million) in renewable energy projects through joint financing agreements with the governments of many developing countries. The remaining funds were allocated through innovative and strategic partnerships including the seven-cycle AED1.285 billion (US$350 million) IRENA/ADFD Project Facility, the AED183.4 million (US$50 million) UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund (UAE-CREF), as well as the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund (UAE-PPF) valued at AED183.4 million (US$50 million).
"Abu Dhabi Fund for Development believes in the vital role the renewable energy sector plays in attaining the sustainable development goals in developing countries. This important sector stimulates economic growth, creates employment opportunities, drives innovation, supports the advancement of other key sectors, and optimises the use of natural resources – all crucial factors in improving people’s lives,” said Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD.
“Over the past four-and-a-half decades, ADFD has financed projects in the renewable energy sector that meet the national priorities of developing countries. Through securing sources of energy, these projects have enabled the production of low-cost, affordable electricity and improved standards of living in these countries.”
In addition to supporting sustainable development in key socio-economic sectors, ADFD has funded important renewable energy projects. Notable projects include:
Sheikh Zayed Solar Power Complex in Jordan
In line with the Jordanian government’s objective of generating 20 per cent of energy from renewables by early-2020, ADFD contributed AED550 million (US$150 million) to funding the Sheikh Zayed Solar Power Complex. The project involved the installation of 328,320 photovoltaic panels that will produce 227 GWh of solar power annually over a period of 20 years, enough to illuminate about 50,000 homes.
Project works included the provision of electrical switches, a medium voltage and signal cable system, transformers and all required equipment to connect the plant to the national power grid. The support also covered civil construction works, roads and safety systems as well as overall project operation and management.
The plant contributed to the creation of about 1,000 jobs during the construction phase and is set to provide 30 permanent jobs for its sustained operation and maintenance.
Upper Atbara and Setit Dam Complex in Sudan
ADFD allocated an US$90 million concessionary loan and contributed to the construction of the Upper Atbara and Setit Dam Complex in Eastern Sudan. With a storage capacity of 2.7 billion cubic metres of water, the twin dams provide the hydroelectric power plant with enough power to generate 320 megawatts of electricity.
Merowe Dam in Sudan
ADFD provided AED735 million for the construction of the Merowe Dam in north Sudan. One of the largest hydropower projects in Africa and the second major hydropower project in Sudan, this strategic project helps the country fill its power deficit by producing electricity totalling 1,250 megawatts – benefitting more than 30 million people.
Located nearly 350 km north of the capital Khartoum, the dam is about 1.1 km across the river and is 9 km long and 60 metres tall. The project included all the necessary civil works including the power plant to accommodate 10 generators, each with a capacity of 125 megawatts, and the electromechanical works. The works also comprised the transmission lines and connectivity to the national grid.
Waste-to-energy facility in the emirate of Sharjah
ADFD allocated an AED121 million (US$33 million) concessionary loan for the development of a waste-to-energy facility in the emirate of Sharjah.
Expected to treat more than 300,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) each year, or 37.5 tonnes per hour, the plant will have the capacity to generate around 30 megawatts of energy. Due for completion by early 2021, the facility aims to help attain Sharjah’s zero-waste-to-landfill target and the UAE’s objective of diverting 75 per cent of its municipal solid waste from landfills by 2021.
Producing electricity using wind power in Seychelles
In the Republic of Seychelles, ADFD allocated AED103 million (US$28 million) to produce clean electricity using wind turbine technology.
Known for being costly to operate and maintain as well as harmful to the environment, diesel-powered electrical power plants were replaced with wind power. This project included the supply, installation and activation of wind turbine farms for electric power generation in several different areas of the island of Mahé.
Eight farms were built to generate between 4 to 6 MW of electrical power. The project also included maintenance and the development of the transmission network, as well as technical services for the studies of wind power and project management.
IRENA/ADFD Project Facility
In 2013, ADFD committed US$350 million over seven funding cycles for the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility. After the announcement of the sixth funding cycle in January 2019, the cumulative funding to date is US$245 million. The Facility helps developing countries access low-cost capital for renewable energy projects to increase energy access, improve livelihoods and advance sustainable development.
Since the selection of projects for the first cycle in 2014, ADFD’s funding has benefitted 24 renewable energy projects in 23 countries, covering up to 50 per cent of the total project costs. They will bring more than 157 megawatts of renewable energy capacity online and create electricity access for over seven million people, significantly improving their livelihoods. Spanning Asia, Africa, Latin America and Small Island Developing States, the projects encompass a broad spectrum of renewable energy sources – wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass – and technologies.
UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund (UAE-CREF)
Launched at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017, UAE-CREF aims to deploy renewable energy projects with a capacity of 11 MW in 16 Caribbean countries to help reduce reliance on fossil fuel imports, stimulate economic activity and enhance climate change resilience. The fund is also a testament to the UAE’s efforts to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
At Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2019, the third cycle of the US$50 million UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund (CREF), was allocated to projects delivered in Jamaica, Cuba, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago.
UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund (UAE-PPF)
ADFD earmarked US$50 million in funding to the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund (UAE-PPF), a pillar of the UAE’s wider strategy to support sustainable development projects around the globe through the deployment of renewable energy, with the supervision of the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, Masdar was appointed to develop and implement renewable energy projects in 11 countries under UAE-PPF.
The first cycle of UAE-PPF funding enabled the completion of small-scale solar and wind power projects in Kiribati, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The project deliverables included cyclone-proof wind turbines and space-optimising solar power solutions. In some cases, the installed projects met as much as 50% of local power requirements.
In May 2016, phase 2 of UAE-PPF supported the delivery of renewable energy projects in the Solomon Islands, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia – with a combined power generating capacity of 3.25 megawatts, displacing more than 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, and reducing diesel imports by as much as 1.5 million litres per year.