A unique programme to support the scaling-up of renewable energy in low-income countries has been launched. The new programme, Scaling up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP), became effective with the announcement of financial support of $50mn by USA Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Prior to Copenhagen, pledged contributions to the SREP (in US$ equivalent) from the UK (82.4), Netherlands (81.8), Norway (26.5) and Switzerland (20) totaled $210.7mn. A target of $250mn minimum was needed before steps to operationalise the fund could be initiated. SREP, a targeted programme, under the Multi-lateral Development Banks’ Climate Investment Funds (CIF), aims to demonstrate in a small number of low income countries how to initiate energy sector transformation by helping them take renewable energy solutions to a national programmatic level. “We are all aware of the energy challenge facing developing countries, where more than 1.5bn people live without electricity and other basic energy services. But the equally important challenge of climate change will require a global shift to low carbon sources of energy,” said Katherine Sierra, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development. “Developing countries, including low income countries, will need to consider how they respond to future risks and opportunities, with renewable energy being one of many solutions to address climate resilient development. SREP will pilot in low income countries how to initiate a process leading towards transformational change to low carbon energy pathways by exploiting their renewable energy potential in place of fossil-based energy supply and inefficient use of biomass,” said Mrs Sierra. SREP offers a unique two-pronged approach. It is designed to support low income countries in their efforts to expand energy access and stimulate economic growth through the scaled-up deployment of renewable energy solutions; and it provides a trigger for transformation of the renewables market in each target country through a programmatic approach that involves government support for market creation, private sector implementation, and productive energy use. Under the CIF, SREP will generate lessons and experience to help demonstrate how scaled-up financing can support low carbon development in low income countries. It is complementary to the CIF Clean Technology Fund (CTF), which focuses on middle income countries. The Climate Investment Funds are a unique pair of financing instruments designed to pilot what can be achieved to initiate transformational change towards low-carbon and climate-resilient development through scaled-up financing channeled through the Multilateral Development Banks. The two funds are the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), financing scaled up demonstration, deployment and transfer of low-carbon technologies for significant greenhouse gas reductions within country investment plans; and the Strategic Climate Fund (SCF), financing targeted programs in developing countries to pilot new climate or sectoral approaches with scaling-up potential like SREP Agreed in 2008, donor countries have pledged over US$6bn to the CIF. The CTF and SCF trust fund committees have equal representation from developed and developing countries alike. Recognising the imperative of climate change deliberations underway in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the CIF were designed as an interim measure to strengthen the global knowledge base for low-carbon and climate-resilient growth solutions.