2 July 2015: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has released Renewables Readiness Assessments (RRAs) for three small island developing States (SIDS): Fiji, the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu. The RRAs find that the three countries could meet their energy needs, expand energy access, decrease electricity costs and strengthen energy independence through a combination of renewable energy resources.
The Assessments call for employing a combination of solar, wind, geothermal, marine, biomass and biofuel energy to lessen the islands’ dependence on imports and cushion their economies from oil price fluctuations. They find that developing domestic sources of renewable power will be a win-win for both the climate and the economy, mitigating these countries’ carbon emissions and creating local jobs.
As outlined in their RRAs, all three countries are heavily dependent on fossil fuel imports, despite abundant renewable sources: solar, geothermal, wind, biomass and biofuel in Vanuatu; solar and wind in the Marshall Islands; and hydropower, biomass, solar, geothermal and wind in Fiji.
The RRA for Vanuatu assesses progress under the National Energy Roadmap toward sourcing 63% of its energy from renewables by 2030, calling for a grid-assessment study in preparation for large-scale renewables integration. Concluding that off-grid renewables could reach 83% of rural residents without electricity, it also recommends adoption of standard designs for off-grid solar-home systems.
The RRA for the Marshall Islands reports thousands of solar installations since enactment of the National Energy Policy and the Energy Action Plan, but suggests exploring more wind opportunities, forming a national energy agency and a renewable energy coordination committee, planning for off-grid renewables and addressing fuel drum leakage.
The RRA for Fiji examines the National Energy Policy, which hopes to achieve 100% renewables by 2030, finding that the Policy requires further implementation. It calls for a national energy committee to improve coordination among ministries and donors, consideration of maritime transport fueled by renewables, and greater geothermal energy exploration.
IRENA, which has completed more than 20 RRAs for countries around the world, states that the Assessments “offer a holistic evaluation of conditions for renewable energy deployment in a country and outline the actions necessary to further improve these conditions.” [IRENA Press Release] [IRENA Publication Webpage, Fiji] [Publication: Fiji Renewables Readiness Assessment] [IRENA Publication Webpage, Marshall Islands] [Publication: The Republic of Marshall Islands Renewables Readiness Assessment] [IRENA Publication Webpage, Vanuatu] [Publication: Vanuatu Renewables Readiness Assessment] More