October 21, 2015
The State Department is pleased to announce several important commitments made at the Secretary’s Climate and Clean Energy Investment Forum on October 20-21.
The two-day Forum convened investors, corporations, philanthropies, and policymakers to discuss and promote the impact that climate and clean energy investments can have in the fight against global climate change. It also provided a platform for both the private sector and U.S. Government programs and initiatives to highlight successful efforts to channel investments toward climate solutions.
Several organizations announced important new investments or commitments to the sector.
Google Lake Turkana Wind Project (Kenya)
Google will commit to making an equity investment in the 310 megawatt Lake Turkana Wind Project in Kenya in order to bring cheap, clean and renewable energy onto Kenya’s grid. Once constructed, Lake Turkana will be the largest wind farm in Africa, and Kenya’s largest single private sector investment in its history. As the first U.S. equity funder for the Turkana project, Google’s investment joins $250 million of additional catalytic debt financing from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government’s development finance institution. Lake Turkana is Google’s second renewable energy investment in Africa; the first was in Project Jasper in South Africa, the largest solar farm in Africa. These are part of Google’s portfolio totaling more than $2 billion in investments to date and generating over 2.5GW of renewable energy.
Clean Energy Finance Facility for the Caribbean and Central America
Secretary Kerry launched the Clean Energy Finance Facility for the Caribbean and Central America (CEFF-CCA), first announced by President Obama in April. Using $10 million in its first year, the facility will provide early-stage funding to clean energy projects to spur greater public and private sector investment. The initiative, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of State, and implemented with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, will provide crucial early-stage financial assistance to clean energy projects and will bolster energy security in the two focal regions. The facility will help the region increase local, renewable energy sources, cut down on imported fossil fuels, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
OPIC Redstone Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Project (South Africa)
OPIC announced financing for up to $400 million to support development of the Redstone Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) project in Northern Cape, South Africa. This large-scale solar energy facility will deliver 100 MW of clean power to the South African grid, and is being developed by U.S.-based SolarReserve alongside lead developer ACWA Power. Redstone’s cutting-edge CSP technology uses molten salt energy storage capability, allowing for consistent delivery of power even after the sun sets. This is a crucial development in a country that experiences frequent power outages, widely viewed to be the key obstacle to economic growth.
OPIC Nova-Lumos (Nigeria)
OPIC also announced $15 million in financing for Nigeria’s Nova-Lumos project. This project provides clean, off-grid power access designed to serve the nearly 90 million Nigerians who currently live without connection to the electric grid. OPIC financing will support expansion of Nova-Lumos’s highly innovative off-grid home solar power service to homes and small businesses throughout Nigeria. This marks the largest OPIC investment to the off-grid power sector in Africa, a key component of increasing energy access in a region where people are not grid-connected and the need for reliable power is especially acute.
The Aligned Intermediary (AI) venture brings together long-term investors and private foundations to channel institutional capital into resource innovation investments – in energy, agriculture, waste, and water. The initial group of long-term investors has committed $1.2 billion of investment capital to AI transactions. AI will facilitate matches between developers, companies and projects that seek debt and equity capital, and committed, long-term, institutional investors. Specifically, it will source, screen, conduct due diligence, and structure transactions for its institutional backers so that each deal satisfies specific goals related to financial rate of return, as well as positive social and environmental impacts, with a particular focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.