Belize’s largest renewable energy rural electrification project, emPOWER, stands to benefit from a boost after receiving a disbursement from US$50 million from the United Arab Emirates-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund (UAE-CREF).
Though the sum of the grant remains undisclosed, a press release said the disbursement represents the largest renewable energy investment of its type in the region. With the disbursement, Belize will underwrite a contract for the engineering, procurement, and construction of a hybrid solar photovoltaic (PV) and diesel power plant equipped with battery storage.
“Today, this achievement will ensure building a more sustainable future and meet the needs of residents of Belize. We regard with enthusiasm the impact that such projects will have on achieving the SDGs and the livelihoods of those who are most vulnerable, including women and youth,” said Sultan Al Shamsi, UAE’s assistant minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation.
Of significant note, the minister also underscored the significance of the disbursement to the UAE’s 2021 foreign assistance policy since the project will assist Belize’s underserved population.
In like manner, Director General of the Abu Dhani Development Fund Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi also noted the implications of the project on an international scale.
“The project is part of ADFD’s core mission to drive sustainable economic development in partner countries by promoting global resource efficiency, as well as access to affordable and sustainable energy, which correspond to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
Not only does the project improve the lives of Belizeans, Al Suwaidi added, but it also contributes to preserving our natural resources, thus having a positive impact.
“As the world stares at an unknown future due to the coronavirus pandemic, the urgency to pave the way to a sustainable future has never been greater,” he asserted.
“The project is part of ADFD’s core mission to drive sustainable economic development in partner countries by promoting global resource efficiency, as well as access to affordable and sustainable energy, which correspond to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.”— Director General of the Abu Dhani Development Fund Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi
With the aim of establishing projects in 16 Caribbean countries over a three-year period, the UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Partnership Fund will assist the countries to reduce energy costs, save more, and enhance their resilience to climate conditions. In March 2019 the fund kick-started clean-energy projects in The Bahamas, Barbados, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
While expressing thanks on behalf of the people and Government of Belize, Minister of State — Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities Frank Mena pledged his, and the ministry’s, unwavering support to combat climate change and alleviate poverty across all genders, ethnic groups, and social classes.
“This solar PV hybrid system will support the government of Belize’s 2030 agenda for clean energy solutions and aid the electric utility to achieve the Government of Belize’s policy objective of universal access to electrical energy,” he added.