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EIB Plans To Strengthen Support For North African Renewable Energy And Energy Efficiency



Luxembourg–European Investment Bank Partnership Seen As Example To Improving Climate Investment

Today marks confirmation from the European Investment Bank of plans to strengthen support for the Green for Growth Fund, enabling new investment in small scale energy efficiency and renewable energy projects across North Africa, in Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia, as well as Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories.

Expanded geographic engagement of the specialist climate fund to the southern Mediterranean region will focus investment on projects that can generate high energy savings and significant CO2 reduction in countries that have high levels of fossil fuel use, limited renewable energy and restricted implementation of energy efficiency schemes.

“Unlocking new investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency is a global challenge and the Green for Growth Fund has an impressive track record that has already enabled more sustainable energy use in Southeast Europe and the European eastern neighbourhood. The European Investment Bank is committed to strengthening the local impact of climate related investment and the planned expansion of the Green for Growth Fund to North Africa and the Middle East can help to reduce emissions and provide a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels use across the region.” said Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President.

The European Investment Bank is committed to strengthening the local impact of climate related investment

The Green for Growth Fund provides dedicated credit lines to local financial and non-financial intermediaries, including commercial banks and microfinance institutions, for investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency schemes by local partners, such as businesses, households, municipalities and energy companies. Targeted technical assistance is also used to strengthen environmental and social impact assessment, energy audits and roll out energy efficiency focused credit lines.

Expansion of the Green for Growth Fund is intended to be finalised by the end of the year. The proposed additional EIB contribution of EUR 25 million, alongside EUR 50 million provided over the last 6 years, was approved earlier this week by the EIB’s Board of Directors, representing shareholders from 28 European Union countries and the European Commission.

At COP 22 currently taking place in Marrakech, Morocco, representatives of the European Investment Bank and the Green for Growth Fund today highlighted how the initiative had already unlocked investment for projects that the EIB could not directly support and confirmed their shared commitment to support new energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

“Ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement earlier this month represents a global commitment to tackle climate change and unlocking climate finance backed by public and private investors to ensure a local impact, as already successfully demonstrated by the Green for Growth Fund, has been recognised by countries around the world as essential.” added Jonathan Taylor.

“The EIB has played a key role in the creation of the Green for Growth Fund and remains one of the fund’s leading partners. We are very pleased about the EIB’s increased commitment, which will help the Green for Growth Fund to attract additional private investors and enable the fund to further expand and build on its proven support for energy efficiency and renewable energy.” said Elvira Lefting, advisor to the Green for Growth Fund.

The EUR 410 million Green for Growth Fund has been backed since 2009 by the EIB and co-initiator KfW, along with partners including EBRD, IFC, FMO, the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and the European Commission and supported investment by final beneficiaries that saves an estimated 1,300,000 MWh and 329,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.

The new investment from the European Investment Bank reflects the strong track record of the Green for Growth Fund that until now has focused investment in climate related projects in south-eastern Europe, Ukraine, Moldova, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Finance in Motion, advisors to the Green Growth Fund, already have an office in Egypt, and a second permanent presence planned for Morocco is intended to strengthen cooperation with local banks and project companies. Finance in Motion also have offices in Frankfurt, Yerevan, Sarajevo, Bogota, Cairo, Tbilisi, Nairobi, Pristina, Luxembourg, Chisinau, Skopje, Podgorica, Istanbul, Belgrade and Kiev.

The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest financial of climate action and last year provided EUR 20.7 billion for climate related investment across Europe and around the world.


Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?



The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?

The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.

Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.

The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.

Introducing New Technology

The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.

  • To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
  • Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
  • Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.

How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy

Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.

The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.

The Internet of Things

Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.

Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.

Blockchain Technology

It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)

The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.

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4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy




Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.

However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?

A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.

1.     Boulder Nissan

When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:

  • Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
  • They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
  • Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.

This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.

2.     Valley Electric Association

In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.

“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”

The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.

This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.

3.     Las Vegas Casinos

A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.

“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”

There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.

4.     Boston College

Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.

Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.

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