Pacific Islands countries switch
to renewable energy source due to increasing fuel
Oct 17, 2008 - Huang Xingwei - Xinhua
The high cost of fuel forced the Pacific Islands
Countries turn to alternative renewable energy sources.
"There is a clear demand for renewable energy in
light of the growing fuel prices in recent times,"
said Solomone Fifita, manager of the Pacific Islands
Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy
Project (PIGGAREP) based at the Secretariat of the
Pacific Environment Program (SPREP).
A group of Pacific climate change experts were in
Apia, the capital of Samoa, to attend the Pacific
Climate Change Roundtable Meeting.
"If one has to look at the outcome of the Pacific
Leaders Forum meeting in Niue, they have expressed
their need to prioritize renewable energy," the Pacnews
quoted Fifita as saying.
But most of these targets have only been formulated
Only last month, Nauru committed that it will ensure
that by 2015, at least 50 percent of its energy source
would come from renewable means. Fiji on the other
hand has committed that it will have a renewable energy
utility by 2011. The small island of Niue has promised
a 100 percent renewable energy economy, without setting
a target date.
Samoa in 2006 committed that by 2030, 20 percent
of its total energy consumption will be from renewable
and clean sources.
Tonga on the other hand has set itself an ambitious
plan to reach at least 40-50 percent in two years.
Marshall Islands have also come up with a target
too because of the recent fossil fuel crisis there.
"A lot of them are online with their targets, whether
they achieve them or not is something else, but its
good to have a target that should be continuously
reviewed and monitored to bring it down to something
quantifiable." Fifita told the Pacnews.
The most common renewable energy sources now being
pursued by a number of Pacific Island Countries are
wind, hydro, geothermal and copra oil.
"The common characteristic is that the upfront cost
is very high, but the ongoing maintenance cost is
fairly low. Compare that to diesel generation, where
you buy a generator cheaply and buy fuel everyday.
In this day when price of fuel is going up rapidly,
while the upfront cost is expensive, in many cases,
from experience, the communities are able to afford"
He said the Pacific Islands countries hoped the aid
donors to provide the upfront capital and work the
project out in a way that communities start putting
aside some money for its future maintenance and replacement.
Under PIGGAREP, they have found that 70 percent of
the Pacific Island's total population doesn't have
access to electricity.
If Pacific Island countries and territories cam meet
all their targets and change to renewable energy,
it is possible to save 30 percent of energy by 2015.
Currently, the region burns up 8 million tons of
fossil fuel for its energy source. This can be reduced
by 2 million or 30 percent by 2015, said Fifita.
PIGGAREP covers 11 Pacific Island countries -- Cook
Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea,
Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
It is funded by the Global Environment Facility for
2007-2012. It will cost 5.23 million U.S. dollars.