The World Bank has agreed to provide $63m in funding for the first phase of a programme aimed at advancing sustainability in the Palestinian energy sector.

The funds, comprises of $14m grant from the World Bank and an additional $49m from donor partners, will support the Advancing Sustainability in Performance, Infrastructure, and Reliability of Energy Sector (ASPIRE) program, which will work to diversify energy sources as well as improve the operational and financial performance of Palestinian energy institutions.

World Bank country director for West Bank and Gaza Kanthan Shankar said: “Power demand in West Bank is fast outpacing supply and Gaza is already facing severe challenges with electricity supply. 

“This multiphase programmatic approach, new to the region, is a model of collaboration between the World Bank, the Palestinian authority and the donor partners to ensure more stable energy supplies while enabling transformation of the sector.”

The new programme aims for sustained financing in order to support long-term planning, interventions in infrastructure and policy reform measures.

Details of the programme supported by World Bank

The first phase of the multi-phase programme, itself building on the World Bank’s flagship report Securing Energy for Development, will focus on developing infrastructure as well as rehabilitating existing ones. 

This will serve to facilitate electricity interconnections with Israel and Jordan, as well as improve reliability. 

Furthermore, it could result in giving further support to improved metering systems, focusing on finding solutions for impoverished communities and reducing losses from to unregistered customers and theft.

The programme will also work to pay attention to gender gaps, with the solar funding mechanisms for households strengthening support for female-headed households and Gaza, and will be expanded to the West Bank. 

It also encourages private sector participation in the renewable energy field, seeking to support women entrepreneurs and engineers.

World Bank senior energy specialist Monali Ranade said: “In the Palestinian fragile context, the multi-phase programme will offer the flexibility to adapt the course of actions to new emerging challenges and opportunities while aiming for a more stable and sustainable energy sector. 

“Over eight-years, the program will enable the sector to strengthen its creditworthiness and attract private sector investment.”

In February, the World Bank, through its International Development Association, had granted $134m financing for the power utility financial recovery project to support the Tajikistan’s power sector.

The power utility financial recovery project is aimed at increasing financial viability, improving efficiency, and contributing to better governance of the state owned power utility Barqi Tojik (BT), said the bank.