Abu Dhabi, UAE, February 18, 2015 – H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s minister of foreign affairs, today inaugurated a solar photovoltaic micro grid project that brings clean energy to some of Fiji’s outer islands. Constructed by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, the clean energy project is the third financed by the United Arab Emirates’ US$50 million Pacific Partnership Fund, through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD). The Fiji project was financed with US$5 million from the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund.
“The UAE is committed to demonstrating how renewable energy can provide clean power and spur economic development while mitigating climate change, particularly for Pacific Island countries. We commend Masdar and ADFD on successfully completing solar micro grids that will help Fiji meet its electricity needs in a more sustainable manner,” said H.H. Sheikh Abdullah, at the inauguration that took place in the town of Nadi, on Fiji’s main island.
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah launched the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund in March 2013 to support development renewable energy projects across a number of Pacific islands.
The solar plants together have a capacity of 555 kilowatts (kW) and will provide more than 40 percent of the daily electricity demand of each of three islands. The energy produced will collectively avoid emitting 722 tons of CO2 each year and save 259,000 liters of diesel fuel worth US$497,000 annually.
“The United Arab Emirates and Fiji have a strong bilateral relationship, and we thank the government of the UAE for funding, developing and delivering this important and valuable project. The micro grids will provide electricity for homes as well as help produce clean energy to develop small-scale industries and enterprises in these remote islands,” said Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama, prime minister of Fiji, at the inaugural event.
The three new solar micro grid projects include a 249 kW solar plant in Kadavu Island, a 153kW solar plant in Lakeba Island and a 153 kW solar plant in Rotuma Island.
“We are proud that the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund could play a role in bringing clean, sustainable power to Fiji with the inauguration of the solar-powered grids. The UAE, through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, is committed to helping promote economic development in countries around the world,” said H.E. Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, director general of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.
Masdar has established a solid track record in the Pacific Islands, completing a 500 kW solar plant on the Kingdom of Tonga’s island of Vava’u, commissioned in November 2013, and a 550 kW wind farm on Samoa, commissioned in August 2014. The UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund financed both projects.
“Fiji’s new solar-powered grids are a prime example of how renewable energy can be a cost-effective way of producing low-carbon power for Pacific Island countries. As a leading developer of innovative renewable energy projects, Masdar is proud to deliver sustainable solutions that provide greater clean access to energy and accelerate economic development globally,” said Dr. Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar.
The Pacific Island projects address the high cost of diesel imports in Pacific countries, as well as delivering reductions in CO2 emissions. Research from the International Renewable Energy Agency indicates that renewable energy is now the most cost-competitive source of power in the Pacific Islands.
H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, director of the department of East Asia and Pacific, and H.E. Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, permanent representative to IRENA and director of energy and climate change, represented UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the event.
Hon. Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, minister of Foreign Affairs and Hon. Pio Tikoduadua, minister of Infrastructure and Transport, from the government of Fiji also attended the inauguration.