Maldives awarded US$6 million loan for clean energy projects

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has pledged Dh22million (US$6 million) in concessionary loans for clean energy projects in the Maldives, Abu Dhabi media has reported.

The announcement came as Abu Dhabi hosted the Fourth Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) – attended by a delegation from the Maldives.

“Maldives does not have the luxury of time to sit and wait for the rest of the world to act and that Maldives has started the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” Maldivian Minister for Environment and Energy Thoriq Ibrahim told the assembly.

Local newspaper ‘The National’ has reported that the loans will provide half of the funds for a waste to energy project that will address both environmental and health issues in the Maldives.

The project will benefit 120,000 people, with a reduced need for landfills, the generation of 2MW of clean energy, and the production of 62 million litres of desalinated water per year.

The states selected to receive the ADFD loans were chosen upon the advice of IRENA – an intergovernmental organisation mandated by its 124 state members to promote the adoption of renewable energy.

Amongst the other states receiving a share of the Dh150 million (US$40.8 million) package of loans – selected from 80 applicants – were Mali, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Ecuador ,and Samoa.

“These projects show the real impact of Irena in the world,” ‘The National’ quoted Chairwoman of the IRENA Advisory Committee Ilona Antoniszyn-Klik as saying.

“The selection criteria used in the project review ensured that these six projects selected are representative of geographic spread of the agency membership and cover a variety of renewable-energy technologies,” said Antoniszyn-Klik.

“The criteria also ensured that the projects were technically sound, they had to be innovative, replicable and improve energy access and security.”

The Maldives – a member of the group since 2009 – was represented at the forum by a delegation including Minister Thoriq, Minister of State for Environment and Energy Abdul Matheen Mohamed, Ambassador to the UAE Dr Aishath Shahenaz Adam, and Director General of Ministry of Environment and Energy Ahmed Ali.

Addressing the the high level IRENA plenary session, Thoriq noted that despite being an insignificant contributor to climate change, the Maldives was taking bold steps to move towards renewable energies.

“He assured that Maldives stands and will continue to be at the frontline combating climate change,” reported the Ministry of Environment and Energy.

The delegation will be in attendance throughout Adu Dhabi Sustainablility Week, which features an array of exhibitions and conferences in the wings of the 7th World Future Energy Summit. The week is expected to be attended by over 30,000 people from 150 countries.

Last month, the European Union pledged a further €4million to address climate change in the Maldives, bringing its total contributions to €38million over the past four years.

December also saw the signing of a climate protection agreement between the Maldives and German governments. The agreement consists of a €3million grant to be split between a solar panel project and the development of low-carbon guidelines for local businesses.

In a recent report titled ‘Turn Down The Heat’, the World Bank reasserted the urgent need for concerted efforts to support the Maldives in adapting to climate change, due to a projected sea level rise of 115 centimetres by 2090.

In the document, a 4 degree Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) global temperature increase was predicted by the end of the 21st century unless concerted action is taken immediately.

Based on the report’s findings, the World Bank has highlighted the urgent need for concerted efforts to support the Maldives in adapting to climate change.