The European commitment to renewables in Africa

The European commitment to renewables in Africa

Alessando Geraldini
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Five questions for Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela, Spokesperson for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management & International Cooperation and Development. Brussels wants to improve energy access for African citizens through economic and financial support for the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI)

During the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) summit, Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, announced the earmarking of €300 million for the construction of 19 new renewable energy projects in Africa. The projects will require a total investment of €4.8 billion. Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela, Spokesperson for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management & International Cooperation and Development, discusses the details of this initiative, the areas included and the expected results.

Commissioner Mimica talked about 19 projects, what kind of projects are we talking about? Where are these projects going to be located?

The EU announced 19 investment projects, with a total expected generation capacity of 1.7 GW, at the meeting of the AREI Board held in Conakry on 4 March 2017. The majority of these investments will focus on renewable energy generation in Guinea, Nigeria, Benin, Niger, Chad, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, as well as at regional level (Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands). Some investments apply to the whole continent and support generation though addressing current market failures and inefficiencies in the development and finance of renewable energy projects. Interconnectors and distribution projects are also included.

These investments have been prepared and proposed to the EU for co-financing by Agence Française de Développement (AFD), African Development Bank (AfDB), European Investment Bank (EIB), KfW Group, Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), ElectriFI / European Development Finance Institutions (EDFIs) Management Company, Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V. (FMO), Proparco.

Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela

Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela

Spokesperson for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management & International Cooperation and Development

Commissioner Mimica proudly stated that with this funding Europe keeps its promises. What kind of ecological, social, economic impact is Europe expecting?

The above projects will contribute to the European Commission's objectives for 2020: to give 30 million more people access to sustainable energy, to cut emissions of greenhouse emissions by 11 million tons of CO2 equivalent annually, and to help generate 5 Gigawatts of new renewable energy in Africa. This represents half of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative's overall target, as one of AREI's key objectives is to generate 10 Gigawatt of new renewable energy in Africa by 2020, and to unlock Africa's potential to generate as much as 300 Gigawatt from renewable energy by 2030. The EU's development funding towards sustainable energy in Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 2014-2020 amounts to approximately €2.7 billion.

Are international companies going to be involved in the projects?

The origin of the goods and the nationality of the organizations, companies and experts selected or to be selected for carrying out activities related to the investments are determined in accordance with the rules of the partner finance institutions which prepared and proposed the projects to the EU. These rules are compliant with the EU rules as per applicable Financial Regulations.

The EU announced 19 investment projects, with a total expected generation capacity of 1.7 GW, at the meeting of the AREI Board held in Conakry on 4 March 2017

When are the calls for tender scheduled and how will they work?

Being at different development stages, the projects will be implemented progressively. Whenever relevant, calls for tenders will be launched by the partner financial institutions after the signature of the relevant agreements for the implementation of the EU contributions between the Commission and the lead finance institution. Calls for tenders are published in the relevant websites of the financial institutions.

Are innovative technologies involved?

The majority of these investments will focus on renewable energy generation, (mainly solar, hydro and geothermal) in Guinea, Nigeria, Benin, Niger, Chad, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, as well as at regional level (Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands). Some are continental and support generation though addressing current market failures and inefficiencies in the development and finance of renewable energy projects. Interconnectors and distribution projects are also included.  The potential for innovation and re-replicability are criteria taken into account by the EU when assessing the investment proposals.