1.6 billion people in rural and semi rural areas have no access to electricity, a problem particularly acute in ACP countries. Working around the problem means using traditional fuels whose smoke is both polluting and can be a health threat.
With €200 million at its disposal, the EU’s Energy Facility co-finances projects on the ground and governance programmes aimed at ensuring everyone, with an emphasis on the most poor, has access to sustainable, modern services across the continent.
The Second Energy Facility prioritises projects which boost the use of sustainable energy such as geothermal sources, solar, wind farms and biomass, along with energy efficiency in buildings.
Building on past success
Figures for the first phase of the Facility show that:
- Almost seven million people benefited from 74 projects co-financed by the Facility;
- The total amount of investment was €196 million out of €430 million total project costs, and
- 97% of the funded projects focused on energy generation based on renewable sources and hybrid solutions.
The first phase also demonstrates how effective the facility is in leveraging finance from other organisations such as the private sector, European development banks, NGOs and EU countries.
The way ahead
The Facility and the AEEP
Launched at the 2nd Africa-EU summit, 2007, the Africa-Europe Energy partnership (AEEP) was set up to increase European and African investments in energy infrastructure and interconnections, both within Africa and between the continent and Europe. The Facility is one of the key ways of achieving this goal.
The second phase sets out six priority areas which calls for proposals need to address:
- Access with the main aim of benefiting the poor
- Renewable energy and energy efficiency using local resources and solutions
- Productive use of energy beyond the basic services
- Coherence with the way partner countries are planning
- Promotion of sound energy policies and strategies
- No blocks to private sector involvement
The first call for proposals was launched in 2009. Two other tools help to implement the Facility; a pooling mechanism which involves European donors and development financing institutions for mediums-sized projects and support to energy governance through the EU Energy Initiative – Partnership Dialogue Facility.