CAPITAL INTENSIVE CLEAN ENERGY PROJECTS: SOME COSTS, BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF USING PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS

Hilmar Þór Hilmarsson

Abstract


Geothermal and hydropower projects tend to be capital intensive and with long repayment periods. These projects can be challenging, especially in developing and emerging countries in transition often characterized by changing and unpredictable political and business environments. Developing and emerging countries are eligible for support from international financial institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank Group and regional development banks and can also receive assistance from bilateral donor institutions. PPPs enable pooling of public, private and donor funds for clean energy investment. A well designed PPP can be a venue for scaling up funding for clean energy investment internationally. However, little point exists in forming PPPs if, for example, the private sector partner captures most or all the benefits, or if the government keeps changing the rules of the game resulting in a non-viable project. The focus of this article is on PPPs, potential benefits and challenges for host governments and various partners, including the private sector, bilateral donors, and multilateral institutions such as IFIs. When disputes occur between the private sector and host governments, IFIs can potentially play an important role in resolving disputes and help ensure the fair sharing of the risks and the rewards of the PPP for all the parties involved. The objective of this article is to review some recent theoretical research recently done on PPP, potential benefits as well as some challenges using this model in developing and emerging countries.KEYWORDS: hydro- and geothermal energy projects, public-private partnerships, international and national financial institutions.

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