UAE and Irena plan to raise $1 billion for renewables innovation

UAE proud to push a responsible, sustainability-led energy agenda

Developing nations will benefit from a dramatic expansion in the resources available to adopt renewable energy solutions as a result of a $1 billion platform backed by the UAE and the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, launched the Energy Transition Accelerator Financing (Etaf) platform, a global climate finance facility to accelerate the transition to renewable energy in developing countries.

The UAE committed $400 million in funding provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development to anchor the plan to secure $1bn in total funding.

"The new Etaf platform reinforces our long-standing commitment to support positive climate action in developing and vulnerable countries," Sheikh Abdullah said. "The UAE is proud to act decisively in pushing forward a responsible, sustainability-led agenda, and in assisting other nations to benefit from the significant advantages of renewable energy."

Joining Sheikh Abdullah at the announcement was Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change.

The launch took place at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow and was attended by the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne, President of the Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and President of Togo Faure Gnassingbe.

"The UAE views development aid and climate action as powerful catalysts for economic growth, both domestically and internationally," Dr Al Jaber said.

"This is the kind of initiative that combines partnership, policy and finance to create tangible progress and it is this focus on practical results that has motivated the UAE to offer to host Cop28 in 2023."

The backers hope to finance 1.5 gigawatts of new renewable energy power across developing countries by 2030.

Francesco La Camera, the director general of Irena, told The National that the agency was "raising the bar" after its work to support renewable projects across 21 developing countries. "We are clear that renewables are less and less costly," he said. "We are showing that the capacity of renewables have been outpacing the traditional sources of energy.

"Now out of every $5 invested in energy, $4 is for renewable capacity.

We have reached a defining moment in our generation’s efforts to put our economies and our environment on a path to stability, resilience and shared prosperity
Francesco La Camera

"This is about the countries that are dearest to our hearts. We support the efforts of developing countries to adopt renewable energy because this is about justice – justice is in the forefront of what we do, it is the polar star for us."

Mr La Camera said there was growing international interest in the model that Irena had developed in partnership with the UAE and as such other partners could enter into arrangements through it.

"This is an open platform, we have an important contribution, we have a good relationship with the World Bank, with the IFC (International Financing Corporation) to mention some of the important agencies here," he said.

"This is about about all renewable technologies – green, solar, storage, hydrogen. All that is green is within the scope of this.

"Ten years ago, who was talking about renewables – it was a niche thing," he said. “We have reached a defining moment in our generation’s efforts to put our economies and our environment on a path to stability, resilience and shared prosperity.”

Etaf will be managed by Irena from its Abu Dhabi headquarters, capitalising on the UAE’s climate finance market and renewable energy innovation infrastructure. The new accelerator platform will help mitigate investment risks and finance renewable energy projects in developing countries that may otherwise struggle to secure sufficient capital.

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Updated: November 4th 2021, 4:15 AM