Power grids in five emerging countries to get investment support

The Climate Investment Funds said its new initiative would help countries bridge a gap in investments needed to integrate renewable energy sources. PHOTO: REUTERS

GLASGOW (REUTERS) - Ukraine, Fiji, Colombia, Kenya and Mali will be the first countries to participate in an investment programme announced on Thursday (Nov 4) that will help developing countries transform their power grids to carry growing levels of renewable energy.

The Climate Investment Funds (CIF), created by the world's biggest economies in 2008 to help developing countries accelerate their shift to a low-carbon economy, said its new initiative would help those countries bridge a huge gap in investments needed to integrate renewable energy sources.

Experts estimate that global infrastructure investments will have to ramp up to US$820 billion (S$1.11 billion) annually by 2030 to facilitate the decarbonisation of power systems and help refit or replace existing infrastructure so it can integrate alternative energy.

"Power systems in many, many developing countries are not equipped today to take on that much renewable energy capacity," CIF chief Mafalda Duarte told Reuters at the COP26 climate summit.

"Our grids won't be ready for a clean energy future unless we can unlock significantly more investment in fit-for-purpose energy systems," Duarte added.

Duarte said investors viewed this issue as a major barrier to investments in renewables. "If you can't integrate them into the power systems, there's no point in generating all that power," she said.

Duarte said Brazil, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia and Turkey were priority countries for subsequent phases of the Renewable Energy Integration (REI) programme.

The REI program will work through multilateral development banks to offer participating countries a toolbox of financial instruments and technical assistance.

Plans for REI were endorsed earlier this year by the Group of Seven advanced economies, and are supported by financial pledges from the Netherlands, Britain and Switzerland.

The new programme will support grid flexibility measures on both the supply and demand sides by scaling up renewable-energy enabling technologies and enhancing the readiness of energy infrastructure for renewables. It will also support innovative business models and improve power system and market design.

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