Submitted by MONTSAME on

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Mongolia today signed two loans to mitigate the severe health and economic impacts of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and one loan and grant to install the country’s first large-scale advanced battery energy storage system (BESS).

The loans and grant comprise of $100 million loan for the COVID-19 Rapid Response Program, $30 million additional financing for the Fifth Health Sector Project to further strengthen the country’s preparedness and response to COVID-19, and $100 million loan and $3 million grant for the First Utility Scale Energy Storage Project.

Signing for ADB was Country Director for Mongolia Pavit Ramachandran while Khurelbaatar Chimed, Minister of Finance, signed for the Government of Mongolia. Minister of Health Sarangerel Davaajantsan and Minister of Energy Davaasuren Tserenpil attended the ceremony.

“The two COVID-19 related loans will assist the government as it manages the impact and responds to health and social protection needs arising from the pandemic,” said Mr. Ramachandran. “The Energy Storage Project will help tap the country’s rich renewable energy potential in wind and solar power to meet the country’s future power demand.”

The COVID-19 Rapid Response Program will support the government’s ongoing initiatives, including a National Emergency Response Plan to contain the spread of COVID-19 and strengthen the health system as well as social protection measures targeting poor and vulnerable groups, households, and businesses. It will also supply medical equipment and supplies and strengthen standards on infection control and testing capacity in hospitals across the country.

The additional financing of $30 million for the Fifth Health Sector Development Project will increase the coverage of upgraded sterilization departments to all referral (secondary and tertiary) hospitals nationwide and boost the capacity of hospitals to diagnose and treat COVID-19 patients, including by providing intensive care and ambulance services. It will also establish a warehouse to manage centralized stockpiles of medicines and medical devices in Ulaanbaatar.

ADB approved the Fifth Health Sector Development Project in December 2012, with ADB contributing the equivalent of $30 million to the $38.38 million project cost to promote safe blood transfusion services, medical waste management, and hospital hygiene. The World Health Organization provided cofinancing of $480,000.

The renewable energy project will install 125 megawatts of advanced BESS making it among the largest battery storage systems globally. The BESS will be resilient to Mongolia’s extremely cold climate and equipped with a battery energy management system enabling it to be charged entirely by renewable electricity. This will then discharge clean electricity to supply peaking power in the central energy system grid. The project will also provide regulation reserve to integrate additional renewable energy capacity in the transmission grid.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.