Tag Archives: islands

SIDS Energy Day: Small, Strong and Resilient

The role of renewable energy as an enabler of island resilience and prosperity takes centre-stage at IRENA’s Small Island Developing States Energy Day

Small and strong was the theme for IRENA’s Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Energy Day, held during COP23 in Bonn, Germany. The day-long series of events held at the IRENA pavilion, followed by a high-level evening reception at the Kunst Museum were designed to mark progress, galvanise collective resolve and inspire further action on climate resilience and adaptation through renewable energy adoption across small islands.

Here is what happened:

Presidents, Prime Ministers, Ministers and senior government and private sector representatives came together for SIDS Energy Day to remind the world that the climate threat is no longer on the horizon – for the people and communities who reside on small islands, the threat is becoming a reality.

“SIDS are on the front-lines of climate change, facing the most impact from its effects while doing the least to cause it,” said Adnan Z. Amin, Director General of IRENA in opening remarks. “The recent destructive hurricanes in the Caribbean are a reminder of this, and I want to extend my deepest sympathy to our friends there who are dealing with the aftermath of the storms.”

These opening remarks set the scene for a day that sought to hasten actionable solutions for nations already suffering at the hands of severe weather patterns.

One such important solution is the development of mini-grid and off-grid renewable energy installations, which can offer small islands a sustainable pathway to economic empowerment, as well as to climate adaptation and resilience. “In the energy sector, SIDS are hindered by a high dependence on imported fossil fuels, and the associated high costs in transitioning to sustainable energy and low carbon development,” continued Mr. Amin.

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IRENA’s Lighthouses Initiative aims to support the energy transition in SIDS by mobilizing US 500 million, to advance their renewable energy ambitions. It’s working. Today, islands are emerging as front runners in the pursuit of renewables based energy systems with more than two gigawatts (GW) of renewables is currently deployed on islands and a further six GW envisaged under nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

Furthermore, several islands plan to go 100 per cent renewables. The Cook Islands, Cape Verde, Fiji, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Vanuatu and Samoa were all noted as aiming to increase their share of renewable energy in the power mix to between 60 – 100 per cent.

island pic with solar panel

Renewables make smart business sense for small islands said new Environment Minister for the Marshall Islands the Honorable David Paul during a SIDS Energy Day panel discussion – highlighting that energy security is strengthened through renewable energy adoption, because it liberates them from fuel imports and protects them from the impact of conflict.

During the day, panels on transforming the energy landscape in SIDS, strengthening resilience to climate change and facilitating implementation of NDCs, and supporting SIDS energy sector transformation, took place at the IRENA stand, with attendance from leaders such as H.E. Hilda Heine, President of the Marshall Islands and H.E. Tommy Remengesau Junior, President of Palau.

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But it was the message of small but strong – delivered by Minister of Sustainable Develop in St Lucia, Dr Gale Rigobert – that captured the moment and inspired participants.

What islands are experiencing today, is coming to all of us concluded Adnan Amin. At SIDS Energy Day during COP23, this message was loud and clear.

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Solar Supports Village Livelihoods and Spurs Business in Fiji

Reliable solar-powered refrigerators are creating economic opportunities for remote, rural towns

In Wainika, a remote village north of Vanua Lavu, Fiji’s second largest island, villagers depend on fishing for their livelihoods. However, the nearest market to trade fish is a laborious two-hour drive and a 45-minute boat ride away. Keeping their fish fresh, without refrigeration, during this journey used to be impossible for Wainika’s villagers, until a renewable-powered solution presented itself.

The installation of a standalone hybrid solar photovoltaic (PV) refrigeration system has drastically changed the economic prospects of the village. Installed at the village community hall, the system enables villagers to chill their fish in preparation for the journey to the market, and helps power lighting and phone charging outlets.  A backup diesel generator ensures the operation of the freezers during long cloudy periods. Continue reading Solar Supports Village Livelihoods and Spurs Business in Fiji

Ministers: ‘IRENA/ADFD Plays Key Role Advancing Renewables in Developing Countries’

At IRENA’s seventh Assembly, held in Abu Dhabi in January 2017, renewable energy projects from the Marshall Islands, Niger, Seychelles and the Solomon Islands were selected to receive a total of USD 44.5 million in funding through the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility. The Facility is a unique partnership between the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), set up to identify and partially finance promising renewable energy projects in developing countries.

At the Assembly, energy ministers from the four selected countries explained how this partnership will bring about a positive change in their respective countries.  Continue reading Ministers: ‘IRENA/ADFD Plays Key Role Advancing Renewables in Developing Countries’

Finding a Way to Transform Energy on Islands

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are on the frontlines of global climate change. Dependent on the ocean for their livelihoods, yet threatened by its rising and acidifying waters, this assemblage of the world’s lowest lying countries are some of the most outspoken and driven countries for decarbonisation and renewable energy.

Matching ambition with reality, however, is not simple, and SIDS need international support to accomplish their decarbonisation goals. But what does that support look like? What is needed to identify the best pathways for SIDS to achieve a renewable energy future and to establish the necessary frameworks for accessing financial support at the speed and scale required to transform their energy systems? Continue reading Finding a Way to Transform Energy on Islands

Scaling up Renewable Energy on Small Island Developing States: The Initiative for Renewable Island Energy

As early supporters of renewable energy technologies Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have played a pivotal role in demonstrating the role of renewables in achieving the Sustainable Development and Climate agendas. They know that overcoming reliance on fossil fuels will increase both their resiliency and economic viability.

To assist SIDS in achieving their renewable energy goals, the Republic of the Maldives as the current chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), has just announced the creation of an Initiative for Renewable Island Energy (IRIE). The announcement came during the high-level session for the Global Climate Action Agenda at COP22. Its purpose will be to support SIDS in their implementation of the renewable energy and energy efficiency components of their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to implement the Paris Agreement. IRIE is setting an initial goal of mobilising at least $1 million in grant and concessionary financing by 2020 for concrete implementation on the ground. Continue reading Scaling up Renewable Energy on Small Island Developing States: The Initiative for Renewable Island Energy

Boosting Global Renewables, One Island at a Time

Islands from the Caribbean to the South China Sea are perhaps best known for their beautiful beaches, azure waters and rich sea life, but they are rich in something else as well: renewable energy. In most small island developing states (SIDS), a combination of renewable energy sources can meet the majority of domestic energy needs while decreasing electricity costs, increasing energy access, creating jobs and mitigating climate change.

What’s more, dramatically falling costs for renewable energy technology have made the switch to renewables more possible than ever before, resulting in many early success stories. In Cabo Verde for example, a wind project connected 50,000 citizens to the national electricity grid for the first time. In the Dominican Republic, 23 micro-hydropower plants are providing sustainable energy to more than 3,000 families across the country. St. Vincent and the Grenadines has also embarked on a large geothermal project, which could supply 75% of the islands electricity needs.

While it’s clear that strong renewable energy potential exists on islands, the pace of development is too slow. Continue reading Boosting Global Renewables, One Island at a Time

Renewables Can Supply Nearly 100% of Samoa’s Electricity Needs

Like many island nations, Samoa possesses enough renewable energy potential to meet nearly 100% of its electricity demand in a sustainable, affordable way. According to a new study conducted by IRENA, a combination of hydro, solar and wind power can supply up to 93% of the island’s electricity demand if a few measures are incorporated into the existing power system and if water supply remains steady.

More than 20% of Samoa’s power needs are met with renewables. The rest is met with imported diesel fuels, which have a negative effect on domestic energy security and energy prices. IRENA’s study finds that a significant increase in renewable energy capacity is possible – including 14 megawatts (MW) of solar PV and an additional 5 MW of hydro – and can reduce the island nation’s dependence on costly fossil fuels, while helping achieve the government target of 100% renewables by 2017. If an additional 8 megawatts (MW) of biogas projects are implemented, then 100% renewable energy electricity would be achieved. Continue reading Renewables Can Supply Nearly 100% of Samoa’s Electricity Needs