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close this bookSustainable Energy News - No. 21 May 1998 (INFORSE, 1998, 20 p.)
close this folderWorld/GEF
View the documentWind in GEF
View the documentUNDP/GEF climate change activities in Africa
View the documentGef structure and operations

Wind in GEF

Wind Energy Projects Supported by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF)

By Ad Dankers, UN Development Program (edited by the editors)

Out of the 120 GEF projects that have been started since 1991, only 3 deal with wind energy. Total financing related to these activities, which consist of one pilot project (the 'old' version of a full-size project) and two project development activities, amounted to $ 2.9 mill. of the GEF climate portfolio of $ 177 mill. The three activities are being undertaken in Mauritania, Eritrea, and Kazakhstan. Further project development activities are scheduled for Panama, Ecuador/Galapagos, and Pakistan.

The ultimate objective of UNDP/GEF assistance in these projects is to reduce CO2 emissions related to electricity production. Only if activities to meet this objective are carefully designed and successfully implemented, in combination with investments in wind power, is UNDP/GEF intervention fully justified.

Wind Energy on the Coast of Eritrea

The overall objective of the project is to formulate a comprehensive national programme to remove the barriers to wind-energy projects and to the widespread adoption of wind-energy technology in Eritrea.

Financial support for the current project preparation activities comes to $ 315,000. These activities began in mid 1997 and will run for a total of 15 months.

Activities and outputs of the current project:

· Creation of a wind-energy information system based on wind monitoring for the southern coastal region of Eritrea.

· Development of a strategy for maintenance, updating, and extension of the wind-energy information system, at the most promising additional sites.

· Identification of technical, economic, and institutional viable wind-power projects along the Red Sea in the south of Eritrea. This includes demand forecasting and cost-benefit analysis.

· Preparation of technical concepts to connect wind generators to existing grids or to use them for off-grid applications. This requires assessment of their technical, economic, and institutional feasibility.

· Preparation of a project designed to remove barriers to wind-power generation in Eritrea and to promote its rapid deployment.

Removing Barriers to Wind-power Production in Kazakhstan

Total available budget for this project development activity is $481,000, of which $131,000 is being provided by the Government of Kazakhstan as in kind contribution. The project commenced late in 1997 and has a total time frame of 12 months. The objective of the full-scale project to be developed is to remove barriers to commercial, grid connected wind-power production in Kazakhstan, reducing the need for new fossil-fuel-based power plants. The project is expected to achieve this by:

· strengthening institutional capacity for research, planning, and technology transfer;

· clarifying costs and various technical issues;

· demonstrating the feasibility of wind-power production in Kazakhstan and drawing the attention of potential future partners to get political and financial support for larger, commercial operations.

These project development activities will include assessment of wind power potential, a plan for involvement of key stake holders, and description of key barriers, along with a feasibility study and financing plan for a wind-power demonstration plant.

The GEF has 3 projects to develop wind energy. They are in Mauritania, Eritrea, and Kazakhstan. They amount to $2.9 million of the GEF climate port folio of $177 million.

UNDP/GEF climate change activities in Africa

By Ad Dankers and Ademola Salau, UNDP/GEF (edited by the editors)

The UNPD/GEF climate change portfolio for the period 1991-1997 amounts to $ 177.4 million. For Africa, 36 projects are included in the portfolio. Almost 60% of these projects are classified as “enabling” activities, 17% are within the purview of the Project Development Facility (PDF), and 22% are full fledged projects. A selection of these activities is briefly described below.

PV used for water pumping in Eritrea (above) and in Mali (below).


For Ghana, enabling activities, a larger PDF, and a full project are included in the portfolio. The PDF activity led to the development of a full project, 'Renewable energy-based electricity for rural social and economic development in Ghana', to facilitate construction of renewable-energy-based electricity supply to more than 3,000 presently unelectrified communities.

Uganda, Malawi, & Eritrea

In Uganda, Malawi, and Eritrea, enabling activities have been carried out. In Uganda, the follow-up was the development of a full project, 'Photovoltaics for rural electrification,' with the long-term objective of dissemination and use of solar photovoltaic systems in rural areas that cannot be accessed by the grid, reducing greenhouse-gas emissions from the use of kerosene and diesel. Activities started late 1997. For Malawi, plans include a larger PDF activity, 'Barrier removal to Malawi renewable energy pro gram'. GEF activities for Malawi are closely coordinated with other ongoing UNDP activities in the area of sustainable energy; viz. SADC FINESSE (Southern African Development Corporation - program for Financing Small Scale Sustainable Energy Services) FlNESSE and a UNDP-Lilongwe-assisted National Sustainable Energy Program.


The 'Photovoltaics for households and community use' project in Zimbabwe was the first full project operational in Africa under the UNDP/GEF climate-change portfolio. The project, which expanded rural use of photovoltaics while assessing the technology and approaches to its promotion, will end soon. It aimed at providing a model for other African countries' efforts to develop off-grid electrification. It included measures to develop indigenous photovoltaics businesses, cooperation with the national utility, and analysis of the relevant national policies, including import duties.

South Africa

South Africa, who has ratified the climate change convention on Friday, 29 August, 1997, is now eligible for GEF assistance. Discussions have commenced to provide assistance in the area of energy-efficient housing. Part of the activities under SADC FINESSE in South Africa also relate to energy-efficient housing, and the two initiatives will cooperate on the issue.


- Ms. Mahenau Agha, UNDP/GEF information officer, ph.: +1-212-9066112, fax: +1-212-906-6998, e-mail: mahenau [email protected].

- Mr. Ad Dankers, UNDPIGEF Climate Change Core Unit, ph.: +1-212-9066639 fax: +1-212-906-6998, e-mail: [email protected].

Gef structure and operations

Responsibility for implementing the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) is shared by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and the World Bank. UNDP is responsible for technical assistance and capacity-building, along with project identification and preparation and a small grants program for NGOs.

In climate change, the overall strategy of GEF financed activities is to support sustainable measures to minimise damages from climate change by reducing the risk, or the adverse effects, of climate change.

GEF operations span 3 broad, interrelated categories:

· Long-term Operational Programs.

· Enabling activities: inventories, analysis, action plans, assisting national communications to conventions (e.g. the development of national report to Conventions).

· Short-term responses, e.g. projects aimed solely at reducing net emissions of greenhouse gases at low costs.

Because "enabling" activities are the foundation for much of the GEF climate-change portfolio, they will be emphasised, initially. This focus will shift gradually to the other types of activities, mainly long-term measures.

Operational Programs

An Operational Program is a planning framework for projects geared to achieve a global environmental objective. It organises the development of country-driven projects and ensures systematic coordination.

The Operational Programs to achieve long-term effects are:

· Removal of barriers to energy efficiency and energy conservation. The aim of projects in this category is to identify and remove barriers to profitable energy-efficiency and energy-conservation activities. Examples: strengthen institutions that promote energy-efficiency, improve building standards and codes, establish energy service companies, and provide limited demonstrations of energy-efficient installations.

· Promoting the adoption of renewable energy by removing barriers and reducing implementation costs. This operational program addresses commercial or near-commercial renewable-energy technologies. Such renewable-energy technologies include photovoltaics, the use of agricultural residues to generate heat and power, other technologies using biofuels, methane control in waste disposal, and wind power.

· Reducing the long-term costs of energy technologies that minimize emissions of greenhouse gases. Efforts in this program are designed to reduce the cost of prospective technologies that have not yet become widespread least-cost alternatives. This approach is well suited to proven, but less mature technologies, such as solar-thermal power generation; grid-connected and household-related solar applications; advanced bio-mass power and fuel technologies; fuel cells; and base-load wind power.

UNDP/GEF Funding Windows

· Operational programs are long-term (3-7 years) full-size projects on a large scale (e.g. $2 mill. and beyond).

· The Project Development Facility (PDF) supports the development of large-scale projects from the concept stage to fully approved project documents. There are three sizes of PDF grants: Block A, grants of up to $25,000, supports the early stages of project formulation. Supported activities can include workshops and/or short-term consultancies for project development. Block B. grants of up to $350,000 for project development, often fund large regional or global pre-project activities culminating in one or more UNDP/GEF Project Briefs. Block C, grants of up to $1 million, support feasibility work on largescale projects.

· Medium-sized projects undergo a streamlined project preparation and approval process for grants of up to $1 million. Projects below $ 750,000 have a special fast-track procedure.

· The Small Grants Program provides grants of up to $50,000 for initiatives by local community groups/NGOs.

· Enabling activities assist countries in preparing strategies, action plans and reports that fulfil their obligations under the international environmental conventions.

UNDP/GEF Handling of Proposals

The first step is to submit a 2- or 3-page Project Concept Paper to the UNDP country office. If the project is deemed eligible, application may be made for a PDF grant, which would support the development of a 10-15 pages Project Brief for review by the GEF Council. A letter of endorsement from the host government must accompany the Project Brief. The process then continues toward development of a full Project Document.

Information: See