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For Immediate Release: Monday, November 14, 2016
*Cross Posted by the U.S. Department of Energy and the White House*
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES NEW FINANCING FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS AND ACTIONS TO SPUR INNOVATION AND PROMOTE ENERGY ACCESS GLOBALLY
President Obama’s leadership has catalyzed a global transition towards a clean energy economy. From 2010-2015 alone, the U.S. has invested in more than $11 billion in international clean energy finance – including grant-based assistance, development finance, and export credit – to support countries as they work to meet their growing energy needs, while improving development outcomes and reducing carbon emissions. At the same time, the United States has made research and development a top priority, decreasing the cost of clean energy technologies substantially, and has launched several initiatives to enhance universal access to affordable, reliable, and cleaner energy globally. Key achievements include:
- Establishing Mission Innovation (MI), with the leaders of 19 countries, to accelerate innovation by doubling public investment in clean energy research and development to $30 billion over five years.
- Launching the Power Africa initiative with the goal of doubling energy access in sub-Saharan Africa. To date, the U.S. Government’s pledge to commit more than $7 billion in financial support for Power Africa has leveraged more than $52 billion in additional commitments from public and private sector partners. Power Africa has already helped bring renewable energy projects to financial close that are expected to generate 2,000 megawatts (MW) from biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower.
- Creating the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), which the U.S. has used to rally governments, industry, and organizations to commit more than $1.5 billion to accelerate the deployment of clean energy globally.
- Since 2010, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation has committed over $7.7 billion towards clean energy projects in 40 countries with a total potential capacity of approximately 3,400 megawatts, including support for 18 off-grid energy projects providers.
Through the three pillars of finance, innovation, and access the United States has opened up opportunities for countries to transition to cleaner sources of energy faster and at a lower cost, paving the way for the achievement of nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement. In fact, last year, the world hit a key milestone –global investment in renewable energy was the highest ever, and, for the first time, more than half of the world’s new electric capacity came from renewable energy sources.
Today, the Obama Administration is announcing a number of actions to continue the global transition to zero-and-low carbon energy sources, including:
- Committing $125 million in OPIC financing for renewable energy projects in El Salvador and India;
- Announcing seven Innovation Challenges identified by MI member countries that highlight clean energy areas with the potential to play a significant to achieve deep-decarbonization;
- Creating a partnership between USAID, the Department of State with the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to identify a pipeline of clean energy entrepreneurs in developing countries;
- Providing $4 million in awards to eight household solar firms under the Power Africa Scaling Off Grid Grand Challenge -- a $36 million investment to empower entrepreneurs and investors to connect 20 million households in sub-Saharan Africa to modern, clean, and affordable electricity;
- Releasing a White House report on the state of the market for access to off-grid energy services and efficient appliances;
- Announcing more than $11 million raised, in partnership with other governments and development partners, for the deployment of efficient off-grid technologies globally through the Efficiency for Access (E4A) Coalition;
- Launching a partnership with the philanthropic sector to bring more efficient appliances to rural Indian villages; and
- Supporting the first Solar Decathlon competition in Africa that creates opportunities for university students to learn about and showcase solar energy technologies.
PROVIDING NEW FINANCING FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS GLOBALLY
Committing New Financing for Renewable Energy Projects. Today, OPIC is announcing $125 million in financing commitments to bring renewable energy to El Salvador and India, including:
- $50M towards a series of eight utility-scale solar PV projects in El Salvador. These projects will help El Salvador strengthen its energy security by diversifying its energy mix and helping the country move away from heavy reliance on imported fossil fuels.
- $75M for a utility-scale PV project in the Indian state of Telangana sponsored by ReNew Power Ventures. This commitment represents the rapid mobilization of financing under a $250 million facility to support up to 400 MW of new solar power projects in India across multiple states.
Launching the United States-India Clean Energy Finance facility: This week, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, and the Government of India will formally launch a $20 million distributed solar facility in partnership with leading philanthropies and the Government of India. Known as the U.S.-India Clean Energy Finance program (USICEF), the facility will address a key financing gap in the Indian distributed solar market by funding early-stage project preparatory work. USICEF is anticipated to unlock up to $400 million in long-term debt financing from OPIC and private sector investors.
SPURRING THE DEVELOPMENT OF LOW COST INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES
Turning to the Next Phase of Mission Innovation: A year after President Obama and the leaders of 19 nations stood together in Paris to launch Mission Innovation (MI) to accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation, members are making substantial progress. Mission Innovation advancements will support economic growth, energy access and security, and an urgent and lasting global response to climate change with the goal of doubling public investment in clean energy research and development to reach $30 billion in five years. Today members are taking another step forward in charting the path forward in critical clean energy innovation.
- Welcoming New Mission Innovation Members: MI ministers welcomed two new MI members at COP 22: Finland and The Netherlands. Looking forward, MI is open to further enhanced geographic diversity, including from Africa, for countries meeting the established criteria.
- Launching Seven Innovation Challenges: MI ministers also announced seven Innovation Challenges that highlight clean energy areas with the potential to play a significant role in achieving our global goal of deep-decarbonization. For these seven clean energy focus areas, MI members have committed to assess the barriers to progress and identify the most promising areas of R&D:
- Smart Grids Innovation Challenge – to enable future grids that are powered by affordable, reliable, decentralized renewable electricity systems.
- Off-Grid Access to Electricity Innovation Challenge – to develop systems that enable off grid households and communities to access affordable and reliable renewable electricity.
- Carbon Capture Innovation Challenge – to enable near-zero CO2 emissions from power plants and carbon intensive industries.
- Sustainable Biofuels Innovation Challenge – to develop ways to produce, at scale, widely affordable, advanced biofuels for transportation and industrial applications.
- Converting Sunlight Innovation Challenge – to discover affordable ways to convert sunlight into storable solar fuels.
- Clean Energy Materials Innovation Challenge – to accelerate the exploration, discovery, and use of new high-performance, low-cost clean energy materials.
- Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings Innovation Challenge – to make low-carbon heating and cooling affordable for everyone.
U.S. Energy Secretary Moniz announced that the United States will launch and lead a challenge focused on realizing zero emissions for fossil fuels through the Carbon Capture Innovation Challenge. In the coming year the U.S. will coordinate and host an experts’ workshop to assess barriers to progress in realizing near-zero CO2 emissions, and to identify the most promising areas of R&D interest.
In addition, Energy Secretary Moniz announced that the United States would co-lead, with Mexico, the Energy Materials Innovation Challenge to accelerate the innovation process for high-performance, low-cost clean energy materials.
The U.S. DOE Office of Science will also organize four workshops over the next 12 to 18 months to identify the basic research needs for electrical energy storage, catalysis, hydrogen at scale, and solar energy utilization. The outcomes of these workshops will be an important contribution to the broader technology R&D discussions taking place at selected Innovation Challenge workshops. MI members are invited to send top experts in their field to participate in the DOE-organized workshops.
- Establishing a Framework for U.S. Mission Innovation Implementation: Today, the United States will release a Domestic Implementation Framework for Mission Innovation. The United States’ implementation of its Mission Innovation commitment will be defined by an increased focus and scaling of proven foundational, translational, disruptive, and integrational mechanisms for conducting research, development, and demonstration. These efforts are built on a foundation of key “platform technologies,” tools and techniques that fundamentally change how research is conducted across disciplines. These high-impact strategies will be applied to discover and design breakthroughs in five areas: structures, mobility, generation, processes, and connecting – between energy supply and demand. The Framework will not define how funding will be allocated to achieve the doubling in U.S. investment; it will, however, help ensure that the investment is carried out in a way that delivers strong returns to U.S. economic, energy security, and environmental objectives.
- Continuing to Engage the Private Sector: Ministers also met with leading clean energy investors who are interested in pursuing investment opportunities with MI countries to discuss the Innovation Challenges. This meeting underscores the critical link between government innovation and private entrepreneurship, including through the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, to bring affordable clean energy technologies to market.
Investing in the Next Generation of Clean Energy Innovation Entrepreneurs: This past June, the President announced that the Administration would facilitate connections between leading clean energy investors and clean energy entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises in developing countries. Since then, the Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of State have facilitated connections between more than 30 leading clean energy investors and over 60 entrepreneurs who are active in developing countries and have relationships with U.S. government agencies. In fact, 10 companies and organizations who participated in the Department of State’s Silicon Valley Tech Challenge: Accelerating Access to Clean Energy Around the World will be furthering solutions or launching initiatives to address key challenges to off-grid clean energy access, including:
- X (formerly Google X)
- Booz Allen Hamilton
- Bloomberg New Energy Finance
- Orange Silicon Valley
- DBL Partners
- Allotrope Partners
- Factor[E] Ventures
- University of California, Berkeley
Announcing a Partnership to Identify a Pipeline of Clean Energy Entrepreneurs: Today, USAID and the Department of State are announcing a partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to identify a pipeline of clean energy entrepreneurs operating in or with the intention to operate in emerging markets, facilitate their growth, and link them to leading local and international investors. This partnership will have USAID and the Department of State working with NREL to expand the geographic reach of the next annual Industry Growth Forum in April 2017 to include entrepreneurs and local investors operating in emerging markets. This is one of the nation's premier clean energy investment event to connect early stage companies with capital. To date, companies participating in the NREL Growth Forum have raised over $5 billion in financing.
INCREASING ACCESS TO CLEAN ENERGY AND HIGH QUALITY
Expanding the Development of Renewable Energy Projects and Access to Renewable Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa through Power Africa. Power Africa is helping to clear the path for many renewable generation deals across sub-Saharan Africa by demonstrating that renewable power transactions are financially viable and harmonizing policies and regulations to drive renewable investment and stability. Three quarters of the projects Power Africa has supported that have already reached financial close utilize renewable energy sources and are expected to generate 2,000 MW from biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower. Power Africa is also tracking and supporting the development of more than 200 additional renewable energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa, which could contribute an additional 13,000 MW of renewable energy when completed. By helping these projects reach completion, Power Africa will play a critical role in advancing the goal of ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, and cleaner energy services and substantially increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030, as articulated under Sustainable Development Goal 7 in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Today, Power Africa is announcing a number of actions that will continue to advance the deployment of clean energy:
- Advancing Power Africa’s Scaling Off-Grid Grand Challenge. Power Africa’s Off-Grid Grand Challenge, which seeks to invest $36 million to empower entrepreneurs and investors to connect 20 million households in sub-Saharan Africa to modern, clean, and affordable electricity, reached several new milestones today, including:
- Initial Round of Winners Announced Under Power Africa’s Scaling Off-Grid Grand Challenge. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is announcing $4 million in awards to eight household solar firms under the Grand Challenge. Winners include: Greenlight Planet, d.Light, Fenix, Orb Energy, Vitalite, PEG, Shinbone Labs, and Village Energy. These awards will support the development of new off-grid businesses and the scale-up or entry into new markets for off-grid household solar solutions.
- New Collaborations with Microsoft, Acumen Fund and the United Nations Foundation (UNF). Today, Microsoft, Acumen Fund, and the UNF joined the Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge for Development and committed to leveraging their investments, capabilities, and networks.
Morocco and U.S. to Host First Solar Decathlon Competition in Africa: Tomorrow, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Morocco’s Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water, and Environment (MEMEE), and the Research Institute in Solar Energy and New Energies (IRESEN), for Morocco to host a Solar Decathlon Africa in 2019. The Solar Decathlon is a university competition, created by the U.S. DOE, which challenges teams to compete across 10 different categories including: design, construction, and operation of solar-power, energy efficient homes. Competitions have been held almost every other year in the United States since 2002, and since 2010 have been held in Europe, China, and Latin America. Morocco’s Solar Decathlon Africa will be the first time this competition will be held in Africa. This effort is also intended to help catalyze the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies in the region by providing opportunities for workforce development and training, public outreach and education, and technology testing and demonstration.
Sharing Best Practices on Off-grid Electricity Services: On November 11, the White House released a progress report Catalyzing Global Markets for Off-Grid Energy Access which summarizes the U.S. government’s role in advancing the market for off-grid energy services and efficient appliances. The report finds that in the past decade, this market has grown exponentially and millions of people now have access to lighting and other energy services due to the proliferation of devices such as affordable, quality-assured solar lanterns and solar home systems. This progress is due largely to the role the U.S. has played in developing these markets through programs such as the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP).
Partnering with the Private Sector to Host a Clean Energy Access Data Science Competition: The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources, together with Booz Allen Hamilton and Galvanize, will hold a clean energy access data science competition in early 2017 to advance ideas generated through the State Department’s Silicon Valley Tech Challenge: Accelerating Access to Clean Energy Around the World. The competition will focus on energy resource mapping to help private sector investors, developers, and policymakers evaluate market potential. Participants in the competition will explore how existing data sources can be layered and analyzed to more easily and cost-effectively generate actionable insights to support clean energy transformation around the world.
Increasing Access to High Quality, Efficient Off-Grid Technologies: The CEM’s Global LEAP is working to catalyze markets for highly-efficient, quality-assured, and affordable clean energy technologies to accelerate universal access globally. Key actions announced today include:
- Providing More than $11 Million for the Deployment of Efficient Off-Grid Technologies Globally: The Efficiency for Access (E4A) Coalition, a global effort announced by Global LEAP and Sustainable Energy for All at COP21, raised $11.5 million in funding, including over $3.6 million from the United States, as part of the E4A Year of Action 2016 campaign that will culminate at COP22. This funding will support the development and deployment of high quality, energy efficient off-grid technologies globally. Super-efficient off-grid technologies are critical to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7, which targets universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy.
- Bringing More Efficient Appliances to 1000 Rural Indian Villages: The Rockefeller Foundation's Smart Power for Rural Development Initiative is announcing a new partnership with the Global LEAP to accelerate the deployment and use of energy efficient off-grid devices in rural India. The U.S. Department of State will, subject to Congressional notification, provide funding for Global LEAP to support the development and roll out of a program to deploy energy-efficient devices such as televisions, fans, and refrigerators at selected Smart Power supported mini-grid sites. It will also develop a strategy for a program-wide scale-up targeted to reduce energy costs for some of the poorest people in India. When deployed it is expected to reduce energy consumption by over 50% for rural households, increase revenue for mini-grid operators by over 300% per household, and generate rural employment for people involved in distribution and supply chain management of the devices.
- Launching the Global LEAP Awards Competition to Identify the World’s Most Efficient Off-Grid Televisions and Fans: The competition will identify the world’s most efficient appliances designed for use in off-grid settings, which are critical to delivering clean energy services to millions of households globally. Winners and Finalists in the 2016-17 Global LEAP Awards, including an off-grid refrigeration competition in partnership with Power Africa’s Scaling Off-Grid Grand Challenge and the United Kingdom’s DFID, will also be eligible to participate in the multi-million dollar CEM Global LEAP Off-Grid Appliance Procurement Incentives Program, accelerating the uptake of these products in key off-grid markets in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
- Pioneering Investment in the Off-Grid Appliance Market: Acumen, through its Pioneer Energy Investing Initiative, and Shell Foundation are partnering with Global LEAP and the Global LEAP Awards program to identify investment opportunities in cutting-edge off-grid appliance enterprises. Acumen and Shell Foundation will utilize the outcomes of the 2016-17 Global LEAP Awards for TVs, fans and refrigerators as an input to its due diligence efforts to identify opportunities for impact investment in the off-grid appliance market.
- Accelerating the Off-Grid Clean Energy Market in Bangladesh: A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between CEM’s Global LEAP and Bangladesh’s Infrastructure Development Corporation, Ltd. to develop the world’s first quality and energy performance standards for off-grid appliances. These standards will ensure that off-grid solar customers in Bangladesh have access to high-quality, reliable and affordable modern energy services.
- Accelerating and Expanding the Role of Energy Efficiency in Energy Access: A new collaboration between Power Africa, CEM’s Global LEAP, the World Bank, the Copenhagen Center on Energy Efficiency, CLASP and others will provide assistance to governments, donors, industry, and other stakeholders on how best to leverage energy efficiency to deliver energy access faster, more reliably, and at least social, environmental, and economic cost.
- Enabling Scale in the Mini-Grids Sector through Quality Assurance: The Global LEAP initiative, Power Africa, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s NREL are announcing the publication of a Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) for Mini-Grids. Power Africa is also providing resources for associated technical assistance on the QAF in sub-Saharan Africa. The QAF aims to provide structure and transparency in the micro- and mini-grid sector based on best practices from successful utility models. It also reflects the range of service levels required to meet the needs of various segments of the off-grid consumer base by defining standard tiers of end-user service and linking them to relevant technical parameters.