The UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund disburses USD 50 million in grants for renewable energy generation projects in Pacific island countries and aims for full commitment by 2016. Project agreements between the UAE and six Pacific countries – Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu – have been concluded to date, with the Tonga project commissioned in late 2013.
The Fund responds to identification of renewable energy as a key growth enabler at the January 2012 Pacific Leaders’ Meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
All six forms of renewable energy (solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, bioenergy/waste-to-energy, and ocean) are eligible, and the Fund is designed to accommodate diverse project types, including single, stand-alone projects; bundles of proximate smaller projects; and/or components of larger projects with other investors and donors. Feasibility studies for the generation capacity, as well as operation and maintenance capacity building programs, are included in the grant.
Masdar, the UAE’s renewable energy arm, acts as project developer. Project funding is untied, and quality local contractors are given preference.
All sovereign Pacific countries can receive project funding. Key prioritization criteria are (1) the government’s seriousness about renewable energy, namely membership in IRENA and policy frameworks or plans, and (2) the assignment of an empowered project management office or an existing utility or government agency.
Application and project development process
During the first half of the year, countries are kindly asked to submit a shortlist of project concepts – corresponding to national roadmaps and strategies where possible – as well as off-the-shelf background information on the country’s energy sector (renewable resources, grid system, policies, governance structure, etc.). Masdar then consults with the government lead to understand the potential scope and finalize the project scope along with the feasibility study by the end of the year. The UAE and the project country’s government then sign a cooperation agreement in January of the following year, during the IRENA General Assembly and Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. The agreement sanctions Masdar to directly begin implementation of the final project concept with the government’s project office.
Funding cycle timelines
Projects approved in January 2014 (Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu) are now in or nearing tendering. Commissioning is envisioned between September 2014 and early 2015.
The 2015 round of the fund opened on 20 January 2014 and received proposals from 4 countries. Masdar will begin project scoping with the governments by the middle of the year,
with a view to finalizing the project and country-to-country cooperation agreement for signature by January 2015.
The following projects have been approved to date:
The Fund is aligned with IRENA services in the Pacific region, including Renewables Readiness Assessments, capacity-building, resource assessment, and grid stability studies.
The project in Kiribati is coordinated with the World Bank and PEC Fund, and the project in Tuvalu is coordinated with New Zealand and the World Bank.
Fund management and contact
The Fund is administered by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate of Energy and Climate Change, with capital provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. Please contact Ali Al Shafar (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dane McQueen (email@example.com) for enquiries.