On 12 April 2012 the global environment facility (GEF) project, Promoting Market-based Development of Small- to Medium-Scale Renewable Energy Systems in Cape Verde, was officially launched at an event in Praia, Cape Verde. UNIDO, in cooperation with ECREEE and the Ministry for Tourism, Industry and Energy (MTIE), Cape Verde, will execute the project over the next three years. The project is co-funded by the GEF with a grant of US$1.8m.

During the launch, Dr. Humberto Brito, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Energy, Cape Verde, and Mrs Petra Lantz, UN Resident Coordinator, stressed the importance of the project for achievement of Cape Verde’s renewable energy policy targets. Mr Alois Mhlanga, Industrial Development Officer at UNIDO, gave an overview of the implementation, reporting procedures and requirements.

The project aims to boost sustainable

development and reduce global  greenhouse gas emissions by creating and enabling market conditions for the deployment of small- to medium-scale renewable energy systems. This objective will be achieved by:

1. implementing small- to medium-scale renewable energy demonstration projects on different islands. A pipeline of projects including all kinds of technologies (e.g. solar thermal, PV, wind) and solutions (grid-connected, mini-grids, stand-alone systems) is under development;

2. preparing an investment strategy for scaling up or replicating pilot projects, and establishing a dedicated seed fund as part of EREF, which will provide co-funding for the development of small- to medium-scale renewable energy projects in Cape Verde;

3. strengthening the regulatory framework to effectively promote and support small- to medium-scale renewable energy development within economic and social sectors;

4. conducting a study on how to achieve the goal of a 100% renewable electricity system in the Island of Brava;

5. strengthening the institutional capacity, and addressing the insufficient technical capacity, of market enablers and market players (especially entrepreneurs, banks, etc.) to identify, develop, appraise and implement renewable energy projects.

The project contributes to the ambitious Cape Verdean Government’s plan to reduce the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels through increased energy production from renewable sources. Through private sector investment and the implementation of supporting policies, Cape Verde has already achieved its target to generate at least 25% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2012. The government is presently working towards a 50% share by 2020; with a goal to produce 100% of electricity on the island of Brava from renewable sources. Small- and medium-scale renewable energy solutions can play an important role in the achievement of the governmental plan.