NEW YORK, United States – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is proceeding with US$34.5 million in grants to fund renewable energy projects in the Caribbean that are built to withstand Category-5 hurricanes and located for enhanced resilience.
The UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and Environment Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi made the announcement at the second annual Bloomberg Global Business Forum, held on the sidelines of the recent 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The US$34.5 million comes on the heel of US$15 million of projects announced last year.
“The UAE is honoured to have partnered with over 30 island countries since 2013 to implement renewable energy projects that reduce energy costs and create jobs. [The] announcement on our partnership in the Caribbean builds on this legacy, simultaneously expanding our cooperation into climate resilience,” Minister Al Zeyoudi said.
“Hurricanes Irma and Maria were a wake-up call for us. We realized that the kind of projects we pursue had to change. As a result, we have implemented a resilience standard for all of our Caribbean projects that reflects the reality of climate vulnerability in the region. Inspired by this precedent, we are now preparing for global roll-out of a resilience standard across over US$5 billion of annual aid from the UAE.”
Al Zeyoudi described plans for seven new projects in Belize, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia. He also announced that the UAE had increased its allocation by 50 per cent to the rebuilding of the Barbuda power system, devastated by Hurricane Irma, in order to relocate and strengthen its main plant, where a solar and battery solution will be installed.
The Minister additionally announced that the UAE will allocate US$12 million for the next cycle of the fund, to be launched in January 2019 at the Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
In tandem with the Bloomberg Global Business Forum, Minister Al Zeyoudi also participated in the One Planet Summit organized by President Emmanuel Macron of France. The UAE is a core member of a sovereign wealth fund working group on carbon accounting, announced under the summit.
UAE foreign aid for renewable energy has reached nearly US$1 billion since 2013. In addition to the UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund, the UAE notably has launched the US$50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund, which has implemented projects in 11 Pacific island countries, and runs a US$350 million soft loan facility with IRENA.