African renewable energy initiative reaches full commitment on $20m investment

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The US-Africa Clean Energy Finance (ACEF) initiative, launched in 2012 with an initial investment of US$20 million, has announced it has reached commitment of 100 per cent of the initial project funds.

ACEF, designed to support early-stage projects in catalysing private-sector investment in the renewable energy sector in Sub-Saharan Africa, was launched in 2012, with secretary of state John Kerry in August last year announcing the US State Department’s intention to invest an additional US$10 million.

“The ACEF programme is designed to help promising clean energy projects develop into viable candidates for financing by providing small amounts of early-stage funding for essential inputs, such as technical and feasibility studies,” ACEF said.

“ACEF serves a catalytic role to advance these projects and help attract private sector follow-on investment, which can help to fuel low-carbon economic growth in the region.”

Funds have been committed to 30 renewable energy projects in 10 African countries since the programme’s launch, with ACEF saying the initial US$20 million of funding has the potential to lead to more than 400 megawatts (MW) of new renewable power in Africa, mobilising more than US$1.5 billion in project capital.

The projects span a wide breadth of activities designed to address Africa’s energy challenges, including large- and small-scale projects, both connected to central power grids and serving rural, off-grid communities.

“ACEF is an excellent example of how we can use limited public resources to leverage the private financing necessary to fuel low-carbon growth in developing countries – a key step in meeting the challenge to address climate change,” said Todd Stern, US special envoy for climate change at the US State Department.

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