Power Africa Launches New Partnerships and Tools at Paris Climate Change Conference


As part of the U.S. Government’s approach to addressing the threat of climate change, Power Africa will forge several new partnerships and launch new tools during the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP 21) to support the development of renewable energy across sub-Saharan Africa. Scaling up access to cleaner electricity helps mitigate climate change and enhance resilience to climate shocks.

The energy sector continues to be one of the world’s largest sources of carbon pollution. Addressing sub-Saharan Africa’s energy challenge – where 2 out of 3 people live without access to reliable electricity –  while reducing the energy-related drivers of climate change will require an intensive effort to build and upgrade the continent’s energy infrastructure.

Power Africa announced several new partnerships at COP21, including:

A new partnership with the Government of Norway, which aligns the collective investments of the United States and Norwegian governments in renewable energy; expands off-grid and mini-grid efforts; leverages Norway’s expertise in hydropower; supports regional power pools to increase renewable energy generation; and supports gender-inclusive growth in the power sector. Through this Memoranda of Understanding, the Government of Norway, through Norfund, is committing to bringing 1,500 MW online over a five-year period, contributing to Power Africa’s overall 30,000 MW electricity generation goal.

A new partnership with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which will focus on expanding information-sharing to further renewable energy growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, this cooperation will explore sharing publicly-available information on specific project opportunities and pipelines through IRENA’s Sustainable Energy Marketplace and Power Africa’s transaction tracking database. The objective of the Sustainable Energy Marketplace is to accelerate the scale-up of investments to promote the initiation, development and financing of low-carbon renewable energy projects by bringing together project owners, governments, financiers, and service and technology providers. This marketplace will make investment opportunities visible and easily identifiable for investors and help project developers to identify relevant funding sources and expertise.

A partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) to expand and leverage investments in cleaner energy; support power pools and other interventions to increase cleaner energy power generation and access to power through regional integration. This agreement includes Power Africa’s collaboration on the DFID-led Energy Access campaign, which will specifically focus on how to rapidly accelerate growth in the African household solar industry. This partnership will also support efforts to advance the full participation of women in the energy sector; support the regional development of the geothermal sector; and strengthen donor coordination in the sector by maximizing impact of interventions.

Other announcements that expand Power Africa’s partnerships and enhance coordination include:

Launch of the Efficiency for Access (E4A) Coalition Together with Global LEAP  & SE4ALL: The Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP), whose partners include Power Africa, the World Bank Group, and the United Nations Foundation, among others, in collaboration with Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) are announcing at COP21 the E4A Coalition. The new effort aims to mobilize global support for the development and deployment of super-efficient, high-quality energy products and services in order to unlock the massive potential of energy efficiency as an energy access resource. E4A released its 2016 Framework for Action, which outlines E4A’s vision and steps for the coming year of action to mobilize and coordinate commitments from public and private sector partners leading up to COP22 in 2016.

Launch of Women in African Power: Power Africa will officially launch Women in African Power, a network dedicated to advancing the role and representation of women within the energy sector in Africa. Building cleaner, more climate-resilient power sectors that serve all people will require the inclusion and participation of all stakeholders — including those that have traditionally been sidelined from the energy industry.

Power Africa will also announce new tools and transaction milestones:

Release of the French-language version of the Power Purchase Agreement Handbook: One year ago, Power Africa, through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law and Development Program, brought together a group of international experts to draft and publish a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) handbook that provides an overview of PPAs and the obligations, risks and remedies that are found within them. The group of experts included contributors from governments, development banks, private banks and leading international law firms. Power Africa continues to tailor its tools to address needs on the ground and is releasing a French-language version of this handbook to reach Francophone countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Announce a new commitment to the European Union’s ElectriFI Initiative: Power Africa will announce a new commitment of up to $10 million in support for the European Union’s Electrification Financing Initiative (ElectriFI). This joint venture, which includes many Power Africa partners, aims to encourage private investors to fund rural power projects across Africa. To improve project bankability and increase access to late-stage finance, the ElectriFI platform will provide blended finance, meaning early-stage grants that can be converted into long-term subordinated debt. It also deploys in-country managers to build the skills and capabilities of people working on electrification projects. These actions will support private investors along the rural power supply chain with the ultimate goal of expanding rural power access.

Support for Private Sector Investment in Renewable Energy in Zambia: As part of their commitment to Power Africa, USAID and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) are partnering with a local financial institution to support the renewable energy and agriculture sectors in Zambia. USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA) and Sida’s Loans and Guarantees Unit are jointly unlocking $8 million in private sector lending for renewable energy production and agricultural sector investment across the country. This financing will better position farmers and landowners to invest in renewable energy technologies, such as biodigesters that can power a milk chiller, or in solar-powered devices that improve irrigation, increasing the number of harvests and their yields.

President Obama launched Power Africa in 2013 – a partnership among African governments, the U.S. Government, the private sector, and bilateral and multilateral development partner community – to help double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. Since Power Africa’s launch in 2013, the partnership has successfully mobilized significant investments in renewable technologies across sub-Saharan Africa, helping to diversify energy portfolios and accelerate Africa’s transition toward thriving, low-carbon economies.

The U.S. government’s initial commitment of $7 billion has leveraged nearly $43 billion in commitments from over 120 public and private sector partners. Power Africa has helped projects expected to generate over 4,100 MW of new, cleaner electricity reach financial close and is actively supporting an additional 22,000 MW of projects. Over three-quarters of these projects involve clean, renewable technology. From wind parks in Kenya, to solar arrays in Rwanda, and geothermal generation in Ethiopia, Power Africa is putting the continent’s vast renewable resources to work. Power Africa’s aim is to help African governments build cleaner, more climate-resilient power sectors that serve all people. Learn more about Power Africa at usaid.gov/powerafrica.

Source: Africa Regional Media Hub


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