“Our success with this model in Argentina motivates us to replicate it at the largest possible scale.”
Sebastian Kind is not afraid of risk. An architect by trade and the undersecretary for renewable energy in Argentina, Kind set up a successful program in Argentina to attract investment funding by de-risking renewable energy projects in emerging markets.
His auction-based program, dubbed RenovAr, attracted more than six times its target bids and resulted in investments worth over $7.4 billion and more than 4.5GW of new renewable energy projects. By 2025, RenovAr projects are expected to meet 20% of Argentina’s emissions reduction commitments to the Paris Agreement while making renewables the cheapest unsubsidized source of energy in the country.
Now Kind is working to adapt the RenovAr model for other economies, and a $2 million Climate Breakthrough Project Award he won is making that possible. Kind is using that funding to build the Global Renewable Energy Mass Adoption Program (GREENMAP). GREENMAP’s aim is to scale up renewable energy deployment in the developing world by using credit-enhancement tools to attract investment, foster competition, lower the cost of renewable energy generation and reduce CO2 emissions.
“In the developing world, regulatory, legal, and political environments are more challenging. That creates higher risk, both actual and perceived [for renewable energy projects], that affects much-needed long-term investment,” Kind says.
He is focusing GREENMAP’s early efforts on decarbonizing the transport, heating, and cooling sectors, sectors where few countries have set targets. For these, Kind believes, electrification, digitalization, and decentralization have greater potential to unlock renewable energy integration.
The GREENMAP team will eventually select five to seven countries where streamlined financial mechanisms will fast-track renewable energy projects.
“Our success with this model in Argentina motivates us to replicate it at the largest possible scale,” Kind says. “We are determined because we’ve seen what’s possible.”