World Bank Leads $5.5B Investment in Concentrated Solar Power

The World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund (CTF) approved financing of $750 million last week, which it said will mobilize an additional $4.85 billion from other sources, to accelerate global deployment of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP).

The funds will be investing in the CSP programs of five countries in the Middle East and North Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia. The CTF is a multi-donor trust fund to facilitate deployment of low-carbon technologies at scale.

The World Bank said it expects the investment to result in 900 megatwatts (MW) of installed CSP capacity by 2020.

Specifically, the World Bank said the investment plan will:

  • Enable the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to contribute the benefit of its unique geography to global climate change mitigation–no other region has such a favorable combination of physical and market advantages for CSP
  • Support associated transmission infrastructure in the Maghreb and Mashreq for domestic supply and exports, as part of Mediterranean grid enhancement. This will enable the scale up of CSP through market integration in the region
  • Leverage public and private investments for CSP power plants, thereby almost tripling current global investments in CSP
  • Support MENA countries to achieve their development goals of energy security, industrial growth and diversification, and regional integration

The proposed gigawatt-scale deployment through 11 commercial-scale power plants over a 3-5 year time-frame would provide the critical mass of investments necessary to attract significant private sector interest, benefit from economies of scale to reduce cost, result in learning in diverse operating conditions, and manage risk.

Shamshad Akhtar, World Bank Regional Vice President of the Middle East and North Africa, said “This is a most strategic and significant initiative for MENA countries. The initiative would leverage energy diversification, while promoting Euro-Mediterranean integration to the benefit of MENA countries that will be able to exploit one of the major untapped sources of energy."

A group of 20 major German companies have banded together to pursue an ambitious solar project in the desserts of North Africa, dubbed Desertec. 

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