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World Bank Supports South Africa’s Renewable Energy Plans

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved $250 million in funding for the Eskom Renewables Energy Support Project (ERSP) to help implement the pioneering and innovative Upington concentrating solar power and Sere wind power plants in South Africa.
The US$250 million loan is provided to South Africa’s power utility, Eskom, and is funded by the Clean Technology Fund which promotes scaled-up financing for demonstration, deployment and transfer of low-carbon technologies with significant potential for long-term greenhouse gas emissions savings. The new financing complements the US$260 million provided to Eskom to implement the Upington and Sere renewable energy projects included in the $3.75 billion Eskom Investment Support Project approved in April 2010.

Africa is beginning to grow and the problem of energy insecurity is dampening that growth,” said Obiageli K. Ezekwesili, World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region. “By investing in these cutting-edge, transformational solar and wind power projects, we are saying that Africa can lead the way in securing a clean energy future.

The loan will help Eskom to implement two of the largest renewable energy projects ever attempted on the African continent.

· One hundred megawatt, utility-scale, concentrating solar power plant to be located in Upington, Northern Cape province,
· One hundred megawatt wind power project to be located in Sere, 300 kilometers north of Cape Town.

Africa is rich in sources of renewable energy, and broadening the existing mix to include renewables is essential for sustainable development of the energy sector,” said Jamal Saghir, World Bank Director for Sustainable Development for the Africa Region. “Once implemented, these pioneering energy projects will provide powerful demonstrator effects for the benefit of Africa’s largest economy and beyond.

The project’s approval comes as South Africa prepares to host the next Convention of Parties (CoP-17) meeting of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban, November 28-December 9, 2011. The Durban meetings mark the first time that that global climate change discussions will held in Africa. With only 31 percent of Africa’s population having access to energy, solving Africa’s energy problems requires boosting of generation capacity, greater financial and technical support, cross-border electricity trade, engagement with the private sector, and harnessing of the continent’s vast renewable energy resources.

We are very pleased to assist South Africa launch these ambitious flagship renewable energy projects,” said Ruth Kagia, World Bank Country Director for South Africa. “They will help South Africa to fulfill its commitments on lowering emissions while demonstrating the viability of large-scale renewable energy projects undertaken in Africa.

The project is fully supportive of the Bank’s strategy for Africa “Africa’s Future and the World Bank’s Support to It,” whose first pillar – competitiveness and employment – seeks to harness technology and innovation from the private sector for wealth creation and close infrastructure gaps. Together, the strategy’s first and second pillar – vulnerability and resilience – rest on a foundation of strengthened governance and building support for public sector capacity.

Additional information:
News date: 27/10/2011

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