Reports filtering in from the U. S. capital, Washington D.C., Tuesday, November 12, said Liberia with backing from the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) has garnered support for a far-reaching renewable energy investment plan worth $50 million from the Climate Investment Fund, (CIF) through a program known as Scale up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP).
Endorsement of the Liberian investment plan took place during the just-concluded weeklong CIF governing body meetings in Washington, DC, U.S.A.
According to the African Press Organization, (APO) Liberia will use these resources to bolster its intention to reach a 35 percent electrification rate by 2030, a critical step forward for the country with less than two percent of its population receiving electricity. The plan is designed to help increase energy access through off-grid electricity schemes based on small hydro, solar PV, biomass, and hybrid systems.
As a first step, the report said Liberia would use a $1.5 million SREP project preparation grant to develop an AfDB-supported project entitled Renewable Energy for Electrification in Eastern Liberia.
“At AfDB, we are very pleased to support Liberia as it takes this transformational step,” stated Florence Richard-Quintanilha, AfDB’s task manager for the preparation of the Liberia plan.
She continued: “Countries like Liberia face the enormous double challenge of providing badly-needed access to energy while at the same time applying the relevant climate-friendly solutions. We believe that Liberian citizens stand to benefit greatly from this plan; indeed, we hope that increasing access to affordable and safe energy in rural areas of the southeast will support greater development in this nation damaged by civil war.”
“With this plan, the AfDB executive intimated, “Liberia stands ready to become an example for other fragile states in Africa trying to increase energy access and diversify their energy mix through renewable ( a source of energy that is not depleted by use, like water, wind, etc).”
The APO report (in the Daily Observer’s possession), said the plan is designed to be carried out in two financing phases. In Phase I, implementing partners will rely more on public investment to help mitigate risks associated with the country’s conditions, which include the lack of an enabling environment suitable for renewables powered by off-grid schemes, and new and/or untested business and technology models. In Phase II, the private sector will take the lead with development partners’ support to scale up the program based on the results of Phase I.
The Climate Investment Fund was established in 2008 as one of the largest fast-tracked climate financing instruments in the world, and with the $7.6 billion the CIF provides developing countries with grants, concessional loans, risk mitigation instruments, and equity that leverage significant financing from the private sector, MDBs and other sources. Five MDBs – the African Development Bank (AfDB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and World Bank Group (WBG) – implement CIF-funded projects and programs.