£100m UK funding for clean power projects in Africa

More than two million people in Africa are set to get new or improved access to clean energy with £100 million of funding from the UK, the Government has said.

Hundreds of thousands of people in sub-Saharan countries will get access to electricity for the first time as extra funding supports up to 40 projects to deliver small-scale solar, wind, hydro and geothermal power.

In total 2.4 million people could be supplied with electricity from new clean power projects over the next five years.

The schemes are expected to cut three million tonnes of carbon emissions over their lifetime compared with using fossil fuels to supply the energy, the equivalent of the emissions from 800,000 cars in a year.

The new funding for the renewable energy performance platform could unlock an extra £156 million of private finance into clean energy in Africa by 2023, the Government said.

The investment triples funding for the platform, which aims to mobilise private sector development and investment in small to medium-sized renewables projects and which has already received £48 million to support 18 schemes in countries ranging from Tanzania to Burundi.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “At home we’re world leaders in cutting emissions while growing our economy and abroad we’re showing our international leadership by giving countries a helping hand to shift to greener, cleaner economies.

“This £100 million will help communities harness the power of their natural resources to provide hundreds of thousands of people with electricity for the first time.

“Building these clean, reliable sources of energy will also create thousands of quality jobs in these growing green economies.”

Projects already receiving funding include a scheme to provide solar power to 70,000 people including 6,000 who will have access to energy for the first time in Kilosa, Tanzania and biomass plants in Ebolowa and Edea, Cameroon, providing enough energy for 520,000 rural people and 460 jobs.

Mini-grids in Nigeria are set to provide 72 rural villages with pay-as-you-go clean energy, in a scheme that will create 2,500 jobs during construction and 430 when it is up and running, and solar power is to provide electricity for 87,600 people and businesses in Burundi.

The Government said the funding is part of a £5.8 billion investment  in international climate finance by 2020 to encourage action from other governments, private sector and communities on climate change.

It is being announced as part of the UN climate talks taking place in Katowice, Poland.

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