The United Arab Emirates (UAE) today signed partnership agreements with four new Pacific island countries to deploy renewable energy projects under the US$50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund. Grant funding is provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs managing the initiative and Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, leading implementation. The solar-powered projects – in the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, and the Solomon Islands – are expected to be completed in 2016. The announcement brings the total number of projects under the fund to date to 10.
The partnerships were signed during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2015 – a yearly platform that addresses the interconnected challenges of energy and water security, climate risk and sustainable development.
“Renewable energy is one of the most cost-competitive power sources to deliver electricity to communities across the Pacific,” said H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE minister of state and chairman of Masdar. “For a region facing some of the highest energy costs in the world, access to sustainable sources of power – such as wind and solar – offer the Pacific a viable solution to enhance energy security and economic growth.”
The four new projects are estimated to save 1 million liters of diesel fuel annually, providing a cost saving of $1.2 million, and mitigating 2,759 tons of CO2 per year. Combined with projects in six other countries already approved under the fund – with two completed and four under construction – they represent one of the largest investments in renewable energy in the Pacific.
With renewable energy technologies improving – driving down delivery costs in many regions – clean power has exceeded grid parity in the Pacific Islands, among other locations, when compared to traditional fossil fuel energy generation. For the last two years, the International Renewable Energy Agency has reported that renewable energy now outcompetes imported diesel on cost across the Pacific.
The projects also highlight the UAE and Masdar’s growing expertise in delivering renewable energy to communities located in complex, remote regions of the world.
“As part of our mission to enable developing countries to achieve sustainable development, ADFD has partnered with Masdar to support these countries unlock their vast underutilised renewable potentials,” said His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, director general, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. “Such collaborative efforts demonstrate how developing countries’ growing appetite for energy can be met affordably and sustainably.For the remote islands of the Pacific, access to clean energy is a critical component to enable their economic and social development.”
The four new projects to be delivered include:
The US$50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund was launched in March 2013 by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nayhan, the UAE’s minister of foreign affairs. The fund covers project feasibility studies, engineering design, plant equipment supplies and installation, construction and, operation and maintenance training in addition to associated grid impact analysis of the project ensuring grid stability.