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Hundreds of millions of British aid ‘wasted’ on overseas climate change projects

March 13, 2017

By Paul Homewood



Serious questions are raised today over hundreds of millions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money being ‘wasted’ on climate change projects such as an Ethiopian wind farm and Kenyan solar power plant.

A Telegraph investigation shows little benefit so far from a £2 billion foreign aid programme to tackle climate change that was established eight years ago.

One scheme, costing £260m of UK taxpayers’ money, has produced only enough renewable electricity to power the equivalent of just 100 British households – about the size of a typical street.

Camels walk along the road near turbines at Ashegoda wind farm in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, on November 28, 2013. 

An Ethiopian wind far is one of the projects earmarked for funds from the British-backed scheme Credit: AFP

Projects including solar parks in Kenya and Mali, a rubbish-burning power plant in the Maldives and wind farmer project in Ethiopia are all earmarked for funding from the scheme.

The Telegraph investigation raises major concerns over the use of international aid money to fund complex renewable energy schemes in some of the world’s poorest countries.

It will also reignite the row over the Government’s commitment, championed by David Cameron, to ring fence the £12 billion annual foreign aid budget, which is fixed at 0.7 per cent of national income.

While officials insist publicly the climate change schemes are working and should only be judged in 2023 at its end point, the department for International Development (Dfid) has expressed concern over delays to projects and the management of them.

One senior source said  ministers inside Dfid are questioning whether the money would have been better spent on humanitarian causes instead.

The complex set of schemes – known as the Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) – are run by the World Bank, with almost one-third of the £6.75 billion total funding provided by the UK government. No other country has put in so much cash.



The funds, consisting of four separate schemes, are intended to kick start green energy projects such as the building of large-scale wind and solar farms in poorer countries and environmentally friendly public transport schemes.

One of the four schemes – the £630 million Scaling Up Renewable Energy Project (SREP) – was set up with the help of £268 million financing from Dfid and the now defunct Department for Energy and Climate Change.

But at the halfway point of the project to provide renewable energy and improve energy access in 28 of the world’s poorest countries, including Haiti, Ethiopia and Bangladesh, little appears to have been achieved by way of effective results.

To date, just three SREP-funded projects – two in Honduras and one in Nepal – are producing either green electricity or improving access to it. A further 20 approved projects are not making any positive impact, according to an annual report published at the end of last year.

SREP has so far produced just 276 MWh of electricity – which experts suggest is equivalent to powering about 100 British households. Its target by 2023 is to produce 2,600 GWh – meaning it is currently producing just 0.01 per cent of the electricity expected in six years’ time.

SREP is currently providing ‘improved energy access’ – another of its key targets – to just 7,395 people, equivalent to the market town of Brechin in Scotland. The 2023 target is 4.9 million people, meaning it has so far achieved 0.15 per cent of its intended target.

The official figures also show the programme has succeeded to date in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 251.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide – the equivalent to about 95 round trip flights from London to Australia. The programme’s target is to cut emissions by 3.6 million tonnes by 2023. It is currently achieving 0.007 per cent of its intended target.

A second scheme – The Climate Technology Fund – to which the UK has contributed £1.2bn, is intended to deliver green electricity and reduce emissions in ‘middle income’ countries including gas and oil rich Kazakhstan as well as India, Turkey and Morocco. More than halfway through the scheme, set up in 2009, it is supplying about seven per cent of the renewable energy expected by 2023.

To date, only 26 projects out of 70 approved schemes under the CTF have reported any benefit. The vast majority of the projects do not record any figures at all.

Dfid’s own annual review of the schemes reveals that in 2014 officials were concerned that the CIFs “had been slow” to put in place practices “on carrying out rigorous assessments through evaluation” of its projects. Dfid subsequently authorised spending of £6m “specifically for evaluation and evidence based learning” to address “this weakness”.

A year later in 2015, according to the Dfid review, officials wrote to the World Bank “highlighting our concerns” with aspects of the management of the funds.

The Dfid review, published last year, also raises concerns over delays to projects and “the inability to demonstrate results”.

It is understood that Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, who was appointed last summer, has demanded some of the climate change programmes be more thoroughly investigated.

A senior Dfid source said: “Ministers have called in a number of climate programmes for close scrutiny to ensure they are on track and delivering.”

The insider added: “The money would be better spent  on our humanitarian response with proven results than some of the incredibly complex climate programmes.”

Dr John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, a charity strongly critical of British green energy policy, said: “Overseas development projects have long been plagued with expensive failures, but the current crop of climate change and renewable energy initiatives are showing strong signs of being the most negligently conducted and scandalously wasteful to date.”

Nigel Evans, a Conservative MP and member of the international development select committee, said: “This is deeply worrying. It raises questions about whether we are spending the money in the right ways.

“We are supposed to be helping the most vulnerable people in the world and we ought not to be pumping money into projects that are not working.”

Alex Wild, research director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “It’s bad enough that people are forced to pay inflated bills for hare-brained green schemes at home, let alone overseas.

“It looks like these projects are following the Dfid playbook to the letter: throw some money at a project and then when it fails to hit performance targets, throw some more at it. The countries involved would be well advised not to replicate the UK’s disastrous energy policies.”


How much more money will be wasted on this lunatic obsession?

  1. March 13, 2017 11:09 am

    What a load of wa**ers (wasters) we have so called “running” our country.

  2. Mike Jackson permalink
    March 13, 2017 11:44 am

    One brick at a time! Unfortunately the level of cognitive dissonance or just plain ignorance (I was about to say pig-headedness but it’s Lent and I’m trying to see the good in people, even journalists!) is almost unbelievable.

    The Telegraph’s environment desk will either see no connection between this story and their incessant plugging of the climate change meme or assume that all that is needed is “better oversight”.

    On the other hand the day is coming when enough people will see the phrase “tackling climate change” and find themselves humming “the king is in the altogether …” Perhaps we should all have a small wager on the late Danny Kaye topping the charts in, say, about five years?

  3. March 13, 2017 11:56 am

    You can just imagine some corrupt dictator contacting his 18 years old nephew and saying “I have a job for you. I want you to run this renewable energy company for me. Salary £1million a year plus lots of bonuses Those clever politicians in the UK are borrowing £billions and giving us a big chuck of money”. Nephew replies “But I know nothing about renewable energy”. Dictator “That’s OK, nobody in the UK renewables energy industry knows what they are doing either. Just look after the money for us in some Swiss Bank”.

    Looking on the bright side, the UK Government is borrowing all this money to give away to corrupt dictators. I’ll be 6 feet under long before future generations have to repay the money.

    • mikewaite permalink
      March 13, 2017 1:16 pm

      But, Mr Bratby, in the hopefully long time between now and your passage to the Elysian Fields (by definition not encumbered with wind turbines) there may be a period when you require nursing care beyond the scope of your budget.
      It is shocking that the Govt will happily borrow money to pay for toys for foreign millionaires but will not do so to help its own people in their hours , days , months and maybe years of need.
      Someone commented on a similar post in WUWT that the 12billion handed out represents not 0.7% as some of the naive amongst us assume (like me ), but actually 8% of the £154 billion collected by the Govt by taxation each year. That is totally ridiculous for a nation so deep in debt as we are.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        March 13, 2017 1:50 pm

        And still increasing the debt every day.

  4. March 13, 2017 12:03 pm

    my two cents on the confused aid+climate agenda

    • March 13, 2017 5:15 pm

      Ah 11 page by Retired US Prof report Aug 2016, titled :
      Sustainable Development Goals : Climate Activism Disguised as Development Assistance
      Not journal published, nor peer reviewed, nor widely talked about but interesting
      Discussed briefly in Curry Blog comments

    • tom0mason permalink
      March 13, 2017 5:28 pm

      Indeed chaamjamal,

      The first line says it all

      Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) marks a shift in the priority of the UNDP from tackling poverty to tackling climate change.

      SDG the acronym for wasting OPM (others peoples’ money).

  5. Joe Public permalink
    March 13, 2017 1:07 pm

    Where much of our ‘Foreign Aid’ ends up:

  6. March 13, 2017 1:42 pm

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    What a beautiful thing when you can steal money from the poor for “climate” matters, and the worst you can ever be accused of is having an excesss of virtue.

  7. March 13, 2017 1:52 pm

    No mention of this important news on the so-called BBC lunchtime news. I’d better check again this evening; I’m sure the so-called BBC won’t miss this very important news.

  8. Ian Wilson permalink
    March 13, 2017 3:02 pm

    A desperate irony is a report in the same edition of the Telegraph of large numbers of people dying of starvation due to drought. Is it beyond the wit of our politicians to divert the wasted aid to those infinitely more deserving recipients?

  9. March 13, 2017 3:54 pm


  10. March 13, 2017 5:00 pm

    Robert Christopher tells us also reported in Express
    The findings are likely to fuel the doubts over the wisdom of ring-fencing the UK’s £12bn annual foreign aid budget, which was carried out by David Cameron’s Conservative administration, who fixed the budget at 0.7 percent of national income.

    Along with a seemingly 1st April story Man-made island to be built off coast of Britain to POWER Europe
    EU scheme to be approved March 23 on top of Dogger Bank fishing grounds
    (Yes but EU can’t do it cos Dogger Bank is in UK territorial waters..and UK is NOT in EU)

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      March 13, 2017 7:31 pm

      The Times had the story as well. Quite enough to put me off my porridge! I commented:

      “And just exactly how much electricity will 7,000 turbines operating, at best, 30% of the time provide by the time you have allowed for power loss over the lines to wherever it’s going?
      And to what purpose? Reducing CO2 emissions? How long will it take to offset the additional CO2 emissions from all — and I repeat ALL — the costs — mining, processing, transportation, construction, maintenance — of this pointless monstrosity?”

      And that’s before you add in any of the costs of maintaining the infrastructure of the place itself.

      • March 13, 2017 8:45 pm

        Mike, so the Times has online comments ?
        I pop into the library to use the fast wifi and skim the printed edition

  11. Athelstan permalink
    March 13, 2017 5:09 pm

    I couldn’t begin, I need to take a tablet!

    But I’ve blogged long ago on this and from time to time reiterated. Oft’ I’ve asserted that, the DifD are taking the piss out of UK taxpayers but also note that, much of ‘our’ aid money is funnelled into EU branded ‘projects’ where Brussels sets up the idiotic ‘ruinable boondoggle’ and milks and bathes in the illiberal virtue signals – its kudos for want of a better term.

    Enforced borrowing to give it away and insult to injury to shovel it down the throats of despots, peculators and idiot green useless technology……………. Imho it is politcal virtue signalling gone way of the reservation – they really should be fekkin locked up.

    and here.

    Handting aid out to corrupt governments, bent officials, the EU – thus, Foreign aid/charidee is, ocean going stupidity only matched by an unconscionable arrogance “we can make a difference” to assuage the lefts obsolescent and very false colonial guilt complex – FFS!


    btw Paul, have you seen this interesting times mate!

    • March 14, 2017 12:29 am

      re:seen this

      I think the possibility of an “electoral shock” in Germany is exercising some of their more perceptive politicians – a few sacred cows are about to be sacrificed.

      It remains to be seen if it’s honest facing up to failure or merely distracting window dressing.

      There’s hasn’t been much appetite for honesty at the top of German politics for quite a while – the spectre of losing to “populists” is I suspect puckering a few rear ends over there. The German elite is I suspect smelling a bit of panic in the air.

  12. Athelstan permalink
    March 13, 2017 5:11 pm

    sorry Paul, maybe too many links.

  13. March 13, 2017 5:18 pm

    I note that Telegraph article doesn’t have open comments

    Athelstan ..I think posts with a few links just go into premoderation
    ..It’ll probably pop up soon

  14. Bitter&twisted permalink
    March 13, 2017 5:36 pm

    There is an old saying, but a very appropriate one:
    “Charity begins at home”.
    So why are we throwing good money away when it could be better spent at home on hospitals, social care beds etc.?

    The idiocy never ceases to amaze me!

  15. March 13, 2017 6:25 pm

    Imagine you’re Mr. M’bongwele in some forlorn desert hell-hole, and you find you’re being paid £MILLIONS to reduce the sunshine. When you’ve finished laughing at Britain’s abject, stunning imbecility you rush to the bank and draw it all out. Switzerland gets the bulk, Mercedes-benz, and Johnny Walker get much of the rest. Our descendants will look back, equally stunned at our craziness, and fall about, sides aching, from laughter, too.

    • bea permalink
      March 13, 2017 6:44 pm

      Meanwhile, what about the one-time IPCC Chairman Pachauri, and the Billy-Goat tendencies of which he was accused by the Police – SO long ago?

      Is he dead yet? No!

      Is he in prison yet? No!

      Is he still swanning around the worldl? Oh yes!

      The latest in the criminal proceedings, is that a forensic report has confirmed that all the EMails that were sent to the alleged principal victim were genuine. Pachauri was onto the “hacking meme trick” long ago, but now is reduced to hinting that “an aide must have sent them.”

      Let us not forget what shocked us in the past – even though the MSM would love us to.

  16. Ex-expat Colin permalink
    March 14, 2017 11:00 am

    In India the rivers are polluted badly – Ganges and rivers of the cities.Toilets (sanitation) not installed. So they eat and drink their own sh*t + anything else thrown over the fences/walls. They don’t want our aid apparently…or didn’t ask for it?

    Mercedes want list lengthens.

  17. Roy Hartwell permalink
    March 15, 2017 1:30 pm


    South Sudan 1960 12 million Currently 50 million
    Somalia 1960 3 million Currently 10 million
    Yemen 1960 5 million Currently 25 million
    Nigeria 1960 50 million Currently 150 million

    Do we need to say more !

  18. Andrew M. permalink
    March 17, 2017 1:48 pm

    Did anyone else notice that in the Telegraph’s picture of solar cells, the fence has been constructed with the bent poles facing the wrong way?
    The top overhang of the fence should be facing out to make it more difficult to scale the fence from the outside, but this fence has an overhang pointing inwards towards the collectors.
    So you can literally approach solar power but you’re not allowed to leave solar power, a bit like their whole policy really.

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