The recent inauguration of a 600kW solar photovoltaic plant in the Federated States of Micronesia marks the successful completion of Cycle 2 of US$50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund. Through the UAE-PPF’s two cycles of financing provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, renewable energy projects have been delivered to 11 Pacific Island nations by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company.
Together, the projects provide 6.5-megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity, displace 8,447 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, replace 3.2 million litres of diesel fuel, in addition to providing energy security and driving economic growth.
The Fund was created 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). It was formally launched in March 2013 by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs. Funding for all projects was provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the UAE’s development arm, with oversight from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
H.E. Reem Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State of International Cooperation, said: “The UAE-PPF is an unqualified success story. Through the support provided by IRENA, strong government-to-government collaboration, and the seamless project execution provided by Masdar, the UAE has helped 11 Pacific island countries tap their renewable energy potential. These 11 islands are now poised to reap the benefits of clean energy to advance their sustainable development objectives.”
Commenting on the Fund’s significance, Adnan Z. Admin, Director-General of IRENA, said: “The Pacific island nations understand the critical importance of pursuing diversified energy strategies. With the support of the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund, these island nations are decreasing their dependency on fuel imports and reduce the risks associated with oil price volatility. The falling cost of renewable energy offers an opportunity for islands to rethink their energy strategies and implement programmes that create jobs and economic opportunity, all while delivering more reliable electricity services.”
His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, reflected: “A core part of our mission is to help countries achieve sustainable development. In the Pacific Islands, securing a stable and efficient supply of clean energy is a critical pillar of each nation’s growth strategy. ADFD is proud to have partnered with Masdar to support these 11 island nations as they unlock their underutilised wind and solar potential to drive energy security, job creation and socio-economic development.”
The UAE-PPF was executed through two cycles of funding. Cycle 1 – which saw solar and wind projects completed in Kiribati, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu – was delivered in 2015. The Cycle 2 projects were inaugurated between May 10 and May 15, 2016, in Solomon Islands, Palau, Marshall Islands, Nauru, and the Federated States of Micronesia.
Commenting on Masdar’s successful delivery of the 11 projects, Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said: “In delivering these 11 clean energy projects as part of the UAE-PPF, we have demonstrated our capacity to increase energy access in some of the most remote and challenging geographies in the world.
“Each project was highly customised to the needs of the local community, reflecting Masdar’s core belief that renewables projects must be innovative – and in some cases multi-purpose – and developed through strong collaboration with local counterparts. I am proud of Masdar’s role in supporting the Pacific islands to realise their full energy potential, and in supporting the global Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring sustainable energy for all.”
Building on the success of Cycle 1, the Cycle 2 projects were developed by the Masdar Special Projects team, which is responsible for delivering small-scale projects, which are often in challenging or hard-to-reach geographies around the world.
A team from the Special Projects unit recently travelled to the Pacific Islands to attend the inaugurations and to ensure the operational excellence of each installation. The 1MW solar PV plant in the Solomon Islands jointly developed by the UAE and New Zealand was inaugurated on May 10. In the small Republic of Nauru, a 500kW solar PV plant was inaugurated on May 12, saving the island’s 9,500 residents nearly 275,000 litres of diesel fuel each year, valued at nearly US$300,000.
On May 13, HH Sheikh Abdullah inaugurated projects on three islands in Palau, ranging from small-scale centralized solar PV plants to a water treatment plant and also solar home kits.
The following day, a 600kW solar PV plant built on a water reservoir was inaugurated in the Marshall Islands. The multi-use project will save the island 236,107 litres of diesel fuel, equivalent to US$272,940 in annual savings, and displace 652 tons of CO2 emissions every year, as well as increasing the rain water yield of the reservoir by six per cent.
The final inauguration on May 15 in the Federated States of Micronesia saw the start of operations of a 600kW photovoltaic plant that will supply up to 10% of the peak demand of the capital’s 34,000 residents. The plant will also displace 876 tonnes of CO2emissions per year and save the island 317,425 litres of diesel fuel.
“The best practices learned from executing the two cycles of the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund will inform Masdar’s ongoing efforts to deliver sustainable energy access around the globe,” said Khaled Ballaith, Masdar’s Director of Special Projects.