The UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund (UAE-CREF) has committed to developing Belize's largest renewable energy rural electrification project, which will bring modern electricity services to three remote communities in the country for the first time.
The engineering, procurement and construction contract to build a hybrid solar photovoltaic (PV) and diesel power plant equipped with battery storage was awarded under the US$50 million Fund, the largest renewable energy investment of its type in the region.
His Excellency Sultan Al Shamsi, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for International Development Affairs at MoFAIC, remarked, "Since its founding as a nation, the UAE has considered assistance to underserved areas a critical component of its foreign assistance. Through the signing of these EPC agreements, the UAE is facilitating efforts to achieving the UAE's foreign assistance policy 2021 to promote global peace and prosperity. 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."
His Excellency Minister Frank Mena in the Ministry of Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities (MPSEPU) expressed gratitude on behalf of the Government and people of Belize, to the UAE for this generous and timely support. The Ministry has pledged its 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.
His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, said: "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.
These initiatives not just improve lives and societies, but they greatly contribute to preserving our natural resources. What we ought to remember is that these initiatives have only positive impacts. 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."
Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said: "This landmark project will transform the lives of these villagers, providing them with a secure energy supply, and helping to create jobs and build local skills capacity. Masdar is committed to leveraging our expertise in developing renewable energy projects to bring real-world solutions to the Caribbean region and supporting its sustainable economic development."
The UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Partnership Fund aims to establish projects in 16 Caribbean countries within three funding cycles to help reduce energy costs, save more, and enhance their resilience to climate conditions. Clean energy projects in the Bahamas, Barbados, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines were inaugurated under the initiative in March 2019.