The Green Climate Fund (GCF), the world’s largest fund supporting climate action in developing countries, is channeling climate finance flows to Mongolia to help it leapfrog to low-emission energy generation, while promoting alternatives to home coal combustion.
Backing the Mongolian government’s plan for renewables to account for 20 percent of national power capacity in 2020, and 30 percent by 2030, the GCF joined forces with local bank KhasBank to finance a recently completed solar power plant in the country’s eastern Govisumber province. The 10MW Sumber Soum solar power plant is the first to be financed by a Mongolian bank. The plant is slated to provide Mongolia with 20 percent of its solar power, and account for five percent of the country’s total renewable energy mix.
Another joint initiative is providing loans to grassroots private sector players in Mongolia to introduce renewable energy and energy efficiency measures that boost their business prospects.
While successful business and the Sumber Soum solar plant offer signs of shifting, low-emission market forces, Mongolia’s severe air pollution is proof that urgent further action is needed. A joint report by Mongolia’s National Centre for Public Health and UNICEF warned in February last year that air pollution had become a “child health crisis.”
The GCF has begun working with the Asian Development Bank on an urban renewal project that is designed to construct apartments for Ulaanbaatar’s outer residents as an alternative to their current makeshift housing.
While these new residential areas are intended to be energy-efficient and maximize the use of renewable energy, they are also connected to the main power grid, negating the need to burn coal at home.
Ultimately, a major goal of these measures to lower emissions from energy use and phase out household coal combustion is to restore Mongolia’s image as a land of clear blue skies. (Source: Reuters)