Pacific Islands, UAE in $50m clean energy deal

27/01/2014

Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are to benefit from a US$50million partnership signed between them and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for renewable energy projects in the Pacific from the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund. <!--more-->The solar and wind energy projects in these countries financed by this scheme are due to be completed by the end of this year.

As well as financial assistance, the UAE will provide knowhow through Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, working in association with each of the five nations’ Governments. One of these projects, the La’a Lahi or ‘Big Sun’ solar plant in Tonga, which went on stream in November last year, was the first from this partnership initiative.

Announcing the deal, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chief Executive of Masdar said, “Access to clean energy is a critical component of economic and social development. This is especially true in the Pacific, as island nations face some of the highest fuel costs in the world and clean energy delivers a tremendous impact in terms of savings and growth potential.”

Some 1.2 million litres of less diesel will be burned in these countries every year thanks to these projects when completed. That translates to mitigating 3030 tonnes of carbondioxide annually, which is a significant volume from these island countries collectively.

The projects are also intended to demonstrate the viability of renewable energy generation initiatives in remote locations, where the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA) reports that renewable energy now has come to outcompete traditional diesel imports on cost.

Mohammad Saif Al Suwaidi, director-general of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development said, “Developing countries have the challenge of accelerating economic growth and social opportunities while facing constraints on natural resources. The deployment of renewable energy is a unique way forward — decoupling energy access and equity from environmental impacts for the first time.”