Kiribati acquires international funding for solar power
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Last Tuesday, Australia and the World Bank's Global Environment Fund (GEF) reached an agreement to give the government of Kiribati 5 million ( 4,779,000, 5,985,000, 3,885,000) to install around the country capital, located on the . According to of , AusAID promised AU$3.2 million in funding, while GEF promised US$1 million. The country was the first in the Pacific to make a deal with the World Bank.
The funding was part of a US$530 million (New Zealand and the European Union, Australia, the , the , the , the , and the United Arab Emirates. Also at the summit yesterday, New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister had announced a national commitment of USD$54,262,000 (AU$51,861,000 NZ$65 million, €42,178,000) to Pacific region energy solutions, of which US$8,348,000 (AU$8 million, NZ$10 million, €6,483,000) would be specifically earmarked for renewable energy and improved energy efficiency in the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu.635 million) package announced at yesterday's Pacific Energy Summit in involving
Kiribati is heavily dependent onfor most of the energy available on the national power grid, which supplies power to half Kiribati's population of 110,000. In addition, a third of the country's population lacks access to electricity. Once installation of the solar panels is complete, they are estimated to reduce diesel consumption by 230,000 liters (60,760 gallons) a year and give access to the electricity to some parts of the population that currently have no electricity. The European Union already has committed €100 million to sustainable energy in the region, with €10 million of that coming as a result of an announcement made last week.
In a press release about the news, Kiribati Presidentwas quoted as saying, "Kiribati faces big challenges it is remote, it is at risk from the effects of climate change, and it is vulnerable to economic shocks. [...] Shifting Kiribati's focus to reliable solar energy will provide a more secure, more sustainable power source for the country's people." quoted Tong as saying, "It's the first time we are doing this. We're excited at the prospect of even substituting fossil fuel to a small extent at this stage. What the system being envisaged will only produce around 500 kilowatts, but this is the beginning of what I hope will be a pattern, the trend in the future."
The European Union's Fiji-based head of operations for the Pacific region, Renato Mele, supported alternative energy solutions like solar power for the region, but said that solar power had limitations because climate and environmental conditions sometimes meant batteries required to power the panels had a life of only 12 months, compared to other climates where batteries normally last five years. This created the potential to drive up standard operating costs. Mele has also noted these additional costs though are still lower than the cost of diesel power.
Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver noted, "Governments will be able to put the money they (currently) spend on diesel into things like education and health."
- "Kiribati gets donor funding for Tarawa solar panels" — , March 26, 2013
- "Multi-million deal for energy efficient Pacific" — , March 26, 2013
- BusinessDesk.co.nz. "Batteries the biggest obstacle to solar power in the Pacific" — , March 25, 2013
- Xinhua. "Pacific leaders discuss plans to break fossil-fuel reliance with major donors" — , March 25, 2013