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Renewable energy summit leads to over 50 clean energy projects for the Pacific Islands

Approximately USD 500 million for clean and renewable energy projects in the Pacific islands was raised at the Pacific Energy Summit in New Zealand last year.

A Pacific island side event on “Mitigation and Renewable Energy Issues in the Pacific Island Countries” was held at the UN Climate Convention in Lima this week. One of the presentations on the agenda was an update on the Pacific Energy Summit.

80 percent of energy generation in the Pacific islands region comes from diesel with less than 10 percent comes from renewable sources. Aiming to address this the 2013 Pacific Energy Summit brought donors partners, the private sector and island countries together.

This platform allowed for Pacific island leaders to present their energy plans and targets in the hope that donor and private sector support would see these plans turn into action.

The summit saw 79 projects presented by the Pacific islands of which 50 are now underway with funds raised for both grant funding and concessional loans over a three year period.

“We will continue to drive our support for the region including the Pacific move towards clean and renewable energy,” said Mr. Roger Dungan of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand.

“It’s not only about reducing emissions, it also allows countries to address the high cost of fossil fuels, Our region is showing leadership and that’s something we wish to continue to support.”

Over a year on from the summit, the successful results stemming from the summit are plentiful.

In Samoa the construction of solar plants is underway in Apia, including the largest solar energy array in the Pacific islands; in the Cook Islands there are eight solar mini-grids for the Northern Group outer islands as well as six solar power plans for the Southern Group outer islands with support from the Asian Development Bank; and in Tuvalu solar power plants are being constructed for the outer islands.

Along with the impressive outcomes of the conference, Dungan explains there were three clear lessons learnt from this initiative. These were the importance of partnership between donors, national governments and the private sector; the significance of national priority setting as having prepared investment-ready project helped to secure funding; and the importance of a follow up high-level political tour sighting the projects tangibly in development indicated political commitment.

“The Pacific Energy Summit may not be the only way, but it is one successful way to help drive more clean and renewable energy projects for our Pacific islands which help sustainable development overall,” said Dungan.
“I hope these lessons are useful for others as well.”

Over 600 people attended the Pacific Renewable Energy Summit in 2013, including a delegation from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), there was also strong private sector involvement, with more than 850 arranged business to business meetings between energy providers and representatives.

The Pacific Renewable Energy Summit was co hosted by the Government of New Zealand and the European Union, it was co-sponsored by the Asian Development Bank, the Australian Agency for International Development and The World Bank.

To read more about the review of the 2013 Pacific Renewable Energy Summit please visit:
The Pacific Islands Side Event at the 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change took place on 2 December at the EU Pavilion. Also making presentations at the event were Ms. MJ Mace of Climate Analytics on the “Majuro Declaration and INDC’s” as well as Mr. Espen Ronneberg of SPREP on “Experiences with private sector financing for mitigation in the Pacific”. The Pacific Islands Side Event was facilitated by Dr. Netatua Pelesikoti of SPREP.

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