The UAE has signed a partnership agreement with New Zealand to accelerate the global deployment of renewable energy projects, especially in Pacific Island countries.
The projects will be financed by a $50 million grant from the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund and a $54 million pledge from the New Zealand government.
The agreement was signed during the ongoing Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar will implement the projects on behalf of the UAE in partnership with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has reported that in most Pacific Island nations, renewable energy has reached a tipping point where it outcompetes traditional sources of power generation on cost.
“With estimates suggesting Pacific Island nations often spend more than 10 per cent of GDP on petroleum imports, renewables not only reduces their dependence on imported fuels, but frees up government budgets for social and physical infrastructure investments,” said Murray McCully, New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The partnership arrangement further aids the UAE’s efforts to deploy renewable energy as a form of development assistance.
“This partnership allows New Zealand and the UAE to work even closer together over the next three years as we expand energy access throughout the Pacific and other regions,” said Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE minister of state and CEO of Masdar.
“Both foreign ministries have a strong record of deploying renewable energy as a tool for positive social, environmental and economic impact – which enables sustainable growth.”
The UAE will fund various renewable energy projects in Pacific Island countries through its UAE-Pacific partnership fund, which is formed via grant financing from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD).
The $50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund was launched in March 2013 by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nayhan, the UAE’s minister of foreign affairs, and is administered by the ministry’s Directorate of Energy and Climate Change.
The fund covers project feasibility studies, engineering design, plant equipment supplies and installation, construction and operation and maintenance training.
The UAE has also announced new renewable energy projects in Eucador, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Samoa and Sierra Leone, backed by a special ADFD-IRENA soft loan facility.
The country signed an assistance deal on Monday to deploy renewable energy projects with five other Pacific Island nations including Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.