Clean Energy Ministerial and World Bank to Help Countries Scale Up, Integrate Renewable Energy in Grids

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The Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) will work with the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) to deliver targeted technical assistance that will help developing and middle-income countries integrate large shares of wind and solar energy into their electricity grids.

The price of wind and solar inputs has dropped substantially in recent years, and these energy sources are becoming cost-competitive with coal and gas for electricity generation in some markets.  Over 144 countries have set renewable energy targets, and more than 100 have already enacted policies or measures to promote the use of renewables. Since 2011, over half of net capacity additions in the global power sector have come from new renewable energy deployment.

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However, the prospect of meeting a sizeable share of electricity demand through wind and solar also requires expansion and modernization of electricity grids, as well as significant changes to policies and operational practices. There is tremendous demand for technical assistance to help countries make the transition to a “renewable-friendly” grid.

CEM and the World Bank will work together to meet this demand by leveraging CEM’s wide-ranging technical expertise to support a new ESMAP initiative. The ESMAP Variable Renewable Energy Integration Program helps countries develop capacity for long-term grid planning, market design, renewable energy pricing, development of rules of access to electricity grids, and strengthening of the electricity dispatch and transport infrastructure.

Countries participating in this initiative will now have access to technical experts, knowledge and resources through CEM’s 21st Century Power Partnership (21CPP) and Clean Energy Solutions Center. The services provided will help countries address immediate issues and increase their capacity for longer-term policy and investment planning.

Together, the ESMAP and CEM initiatives will work to deliver the most advanced knowledge—from technical integration of VRE and smart grids to harmonized policy and regulatory frameworks—that will draw from the experiences of vanguard countries already managing high percentages of wind and solar penetration. The Clean Energy Solutions Center will provide just-in-time technical assistance to policy makers participating in the ESMAP initiative through its “Ask-An-Expert” service.

Opportunities will also be identified to hold clean energy workshops and webinars to provide cooperative training for policy makers in participating countries. Additionally, ESMAP donors and the United States will support ESMAP by sending technical experts to play key roles in the Variable Renewable Energy Integration initiative.

This collaboration will expand the work of 21CPP on grid integration already underway through multi-year technical assistance programs in India, Mexico, and South Africa. The ESMAP initiative, although still in its early stages, is already evaluating proposals for support in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Haiti, Morocco, Ukraine, India, Philippines, Seychelles, South Africa and Vietnam.