The recent completion of a solar power project for the Pacific nation of Vanuatu marks the latest stage of the ground-breaking United Arab Emirates-Pacific Partnership Fund (UAE-PPF). The installation of three new solar PV plants represents another milestone for an imaginative and innovative initiative that has captured international attention with its potential for developing countries.
Mr Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, the Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said: “Secure sources of clean energy are becoming an increasingly critical component of economic and social development. Island nations in the Pacific are especially vulnerable to some of the highest fuel costs in the world due to their dependence on imports. By helping to alleviate their energy burden, we are enabling these Pacific nations to allocate more of their resources to accelerating economic growth and maximising the potential of their inhabitants.”
The completed project is the latest stage in the implementation of the UAE-PPF, a US$50 million initiative managed by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, in close coordination with the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development provides the project funding for the entire Pacific programme.
“The continued success of the United Arab Emirates-Pacific Partnership Fund is tangible evidence of Masdar’s ability to develop workable renewables solutions and deploy them in the service of the UAE’s bilateral partnerships with countries around the world. We have already helped to make a real difference in the six countries we are currently partnering, and we believe this partnership fund could provide a model for similar agreements around the world,” added Mr Al Ramahi.
Vanuatu is a nation of 82 islands with a population of 225,000. Port Villa, one of the more densely populated islands, is home to 44,000 people, of whom only 27 per cent have access to electricity. While the island already has some local renewable energy generation capacity – including solar PV, wind, and hydro – the majority of energy demand is still met by diesel generators.
The solar PV installations in Vanuatu consist of 644kWp ground-mounted and car park structures at the Parliament House premises, and a 123kWp ground-mounted installation at the Meteorology and Geo-Hazard Department building.
The new plants in Vanuatu will help to increase the share for renewable energy in power generation, displace 896 tons of CO2 emissions and save 324,000 litres of diesel fuel worth US$378,000 per year (at 2015 prices). The project also provides the added benefit of shaded parking for up to 112 cars.
The UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund was launched in response to the identification of renewable energy as a key growth enabler at the January 2012 Pacific Leaders’ Meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Masdar works with each nation’s government to co-design and implement the projects, which enhance economic growth and sustainability by reducing dependency on fossil fuels, cutting carbon-dioxide emissions and improving access to electricity.
To date, the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund has enabled the generation of a total of 2.8 megawatts of renewable energy capacity and replaced a total of 1.5 million litres of imported diesel fuel. The combined output of the projects has saved US$2 million per year and also eliminated 4,157 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.