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GEF Project “The Promotion of Small- and Medium-Scale Renewable Energy Systems in Cape Verde” – Presented on Thursday in Praia

United Nations, Praia, 11th April 2012 – At the end of March, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) approved a funding package worth a total of US$ 1.7 million for a project entitled The Promotion of Small- and Medium-Scale Renewable Energy Systems in Cape Verde, which was presented today in Praia.

This project aims to support the sustainable development of renewable energy in the country, contributing to the creation of a favourable environment for investment in small- and medium-scale renewable energy technologies.

Its launch and implementation provide an opportunity for collaboration and support between UNIDO, RCREEE, and the Cape Verdean Government, with a view to achieving the global goals of energy sustainability and security as well as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

It is hoped that completion of the project will lead to the objectives outlined below:

During the conference’s opening ceremony, the UN Resident Coordinator in Cape Verde, Petra Lantz, stated “Energy continues to be a critical factor in Cape Verde’s socio-economic development. Among several, the principal challenge faced by Cape Verde is its heavy dependence on imported fossil fuels for energy and water production, which exposes the country to high and unstable fuel prices on the international market.” For the UN Resident Coordinator, it is important that Cape Verde takes measures to promote locally available and scientifically validated renewable energy resources as a matter of priority. The growth of these renewable energy sources in the country’s energy mix offers clear benefits which include: increased access to modern energy services in remote areas lacking infrastructure, made possible by the decentralized and modular nature of renewable energy; increased safeguarding of energy provision through the diversification of energy generation; and local “green” employment opportunities.

According to Petra Lantz, the scheme presented today seeks to promote greater private sector participation in the development of small- and medium-scale renewable energy systems by overcoming obstacles such as: a lack of recognition of the technical and commercial viability of these projects; a lack of access to finance; a lack of the expertise for, and awareness of the benefits of, developing these systems; and the need to secure a regulatory and legal framework that is favourable to developing small- and medium-scale renewable energy projects.

Climate change and energy are intimately linked, explained the UN Cape Verde representative. Furthermore, energy makes human progress possible, from job creation to economic competitiveness, from reinforcing security to the empowerment of women. Energy is a great uniter: it crosses all sectors and is at the core of every country’s interests. Now, more than ever, the world needs to guarantee that the benefits of modern energy are available to all, and that this energy is provided in the cleanest and most efficient way possible. Foremost this is a question of equality, but it is also a practical matter of pressing importance. Recognizing the urgency of energy challenges, the UN General Assembly last year declared 2012 to be the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.

As chair of the conference’s opening ceremony, the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Energy, Humberto Brito emphasized that the project corresponds with the Government’s energy priorities and policies, explaining that Cape Verde has prepared a strategy for the energy sector that aims to increase its proportion of renewable energy to 50% by 2020.

The project was developed by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Housing and Planning (MAHOT), the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Energy (MTIE) and the Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency of ECOWAS (RCREEE).

 The conference brought together representatives from the Government, the private sector, as well as various parties with interests in the development of renewable energies in the region and the country. More information about this event is available at the website www.ecreee.org.

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