Euro renewables fund invests first millions in developing world

A fund set up to support efforts in the developing world to build economies based on clean energy is to invest in small-scale renewables in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Set up by the European Commission, the Global Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF) aims to encourage countries looking to build their energy portfolio to consider greener options.

The first set of investments, totalling €22m, were announced this week by European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.

“The GEEREF is creating a finance platform to support the global fight against both climate change and poverty,” Commissioner Dimas said.

“Tackling both these issues together is at the heart of the EU’s shared vision for a global and comprehensive international agreement on climate change that we [have been] discussing in Poznan and which must be concluded by the end of 2009.”

The fund will buy equity in renewable energy projects such as wind energy generation, small hydro-electric generation, biomass and methane recovery.

In the regions where the funds operate, there is a lack of investors available through the open market for these types of projects.

The focus will be mainly on investments below €10 million as these are mostly ignored by private investors and international finance institutions.

It is expected that GEEREF will invest in regional sub-funds for the African, Caribbean and Pacific region, North Africa, non-EU Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Together the European Commission, Germany and Norway have committed about €110m to the GEEREF over the period 2007-2011 and it is envisaged that further financing from other public and private sources will be forthcoming.

“1.6 billion people worldwide still have no regular access to reliable energy services,” said Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development & Humanitarian Aid.

“GEEREF investments will accelerate the transfer, development and deployment of environmentally sound technologies, and thereby help to bring secure and clean energy supplies to people in poorer regions of the world.”

Sam Bond

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