- A unique multi-million dollar programme aimed at supporting the scaling-up of renewable energy in low-income countries was launched in Copenhagen yesterday.
The new programme, Scaling up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP), became effective with the announcement of financial support of $50 million by USA Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Prior to Copenhagen, pledged contributions to the SREP (in US$ equivalent) from the UK (82.4), Netherlands (81.8), Norway (26.5) and Switzerland (20) totaled $210.7 million. A target of $250 million minimum was needed before steps to operationalise the fund could be initiated.
SREP, a targeted programme, under the Multi-lateral Development Banks’ Climate Investment Funds (CIF), aims to dem¬onstrate in a small number of low income countries how to initiate energy sector trans¬formation by helping them take renewable en¬ergy solutions to a national programmatic level.
“We are all aware of the energy challenge facing developing countries, where more than 1.5 billion people live without elec¬tricity and other basic energy services. But the equally important challenge of cli¬mate change will require a global shift to low carbon sources of energy,” said Katherine Sierra, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development.
“Developing countries, including low income countries, will need to consider how they respond to future risks and opportunities, with renewable energy being one of many solutions to address climate resil¬ient development. SREP will pilot in low income countries how to initiate a process leading towards transformational change to low carbon energy pathways by exploiting their renewable energy potential in place of fossil-based energy supply and inefficient use of biomass,” said Mrs Sierra.
SREP offers a unique two-pronged approach. It is designed to support low income countries in their efforts to expand energy access and stim¬ulate economic growth through the scaled-up deployment of renewable energy so¬lutions; and it provides a trigger for transformation of the renewables market in each target country through a programmatic approach that involves government support for market creation, private sector implementation, and productive energy use.
Under the CIF, SREP will generate lessons and experience to help demonstrate how scaled-up financing can support low car¬bon development in low income coun¬tries. It is complementary to the CIF Clean Technology Fund (CTF), which fo¬cuses on middle income countries.
The Climate Investment Funds are a pair of financing instruments designed to pilot what can be achieved to initiate transformational change towards low-carbon and climate-resilient development through scaled-up financing channeled through the Multilateral Development Banks. The two funds are the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), financing scaled up demonstration, deployment and transfer of low-carbon technologies for significant greenhouse gas reductions within country investment plans; and the Strategic Climate Fund (SCF), financing targeted programs in developing countries to pilot new climate or sectoral approaches with scaling-up potential like SREP.
Agreed in 2008, donor countries have pledged over US$6 billion to the CIF. The CTF and SCF trust fund committees have equal representation from developed and developing countries alike. Recognising the imperative of climate change deliberations underway in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the CIF were designed as an interim measure to strengthen the global knowledge base for low-carbon and climate-resilient growth solutions.
The CIF, implemented jointly by the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Inter-American Development Bank, International Finance Corporation, and World Bank, is comprised of the CTF to provide scaled up financing for the demonstration, deployment and transfer of low carbon technologies that have a significant potential for long-term greenhouse gas emissions savings; and the SCF, a suite of three targeted programs to pilot new approaches to climate action, each with potential for scaled up, transformational action: the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), the Forest Investment Program (FIP) and the Programme for Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP).
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