A series of renewable energy projects made possible by the US$50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund (UAE-PPF) are set to be inaugurated in the Pacific Island countries and territories.
Five small-scale solar energy projects, delivered by Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar, will come on stream across five island nations from May 10-15, marking the completion of the second cycle of the UAE-PPF.
The highly customised projects are designed to drive economic growth and sustainable development in the Solomon Islands, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia. The projects will help reduce the participating countries’ reliance on imported fossil fuels, drive job creation and capacity-building efforts, and contribute to each nation’s renewable energy targets.
Commenting on the imminent completion of the Cycle 2 projects, Masdar CEO Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, said: “The projects coming online as part of Cycle 2 of the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund represent a model for what the public and private sectors can achieve by working together. With the support of our UAE partners and the governments of the island nations, Masdar has been able to deploy innovative, small-scale projects that meet the needs of the local communities.
“Through these projects, Masdar is not only helping to advance socio-economic growth, but it is also showcasing a new delivery model for advancing the global sustainability agenda and taking action on climate change.”
Once inaugurated, the projects in Cycle 2 will deliver a total of 3.1 megawatts of clean energy and will displace over 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. The Cycle 2 projects will also save 1.7 million litres of diesel fuel each year, thereby supporting the countries’ energy diversification efforts and reducing their exposure to commodity price fluctuations and supply chain disruptions.
In addition, as part of the UAE-PPF’s requirements, Masdar has trained the operators of the power generation assets, thereby supporting capacity-building and skills training in the local communities and enhancing the capacity of existing regional contractors to deliver renewable energy projects.
The Masdar-implemented energy infrastructure is also unique in that it has been designed to withstand the natural disasters that are common to the Pacific Islands, including cyclones, gale-force winds and torrential rainfall, further bolstering energy security.
Khaled Ballaith, Director of the Masdar Special Projects team, said: “The Pacific islands are among the most remote, inaccessible places on Earth, and the needs of the communities vary tremendously from island to island. I am proud that our team has been able to deliver innovative, bespoke solutions to the five islands in Cycle 2, building on the best practices learned from Cycle 1 projects and projects implemented elsewhere.”
The first cycle of the fund saw Masdar complete small-scale solar and wind projects in Kiribati, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Highlights from the projects included cyclone-proof wind turbines, space-optimising solar solutions, and plants providing 50% of local energy requirements.
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 was appointed to design and implement the projects by working closely with partners in the UAE and the host nation.
Funding for the UAE-PPF is provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, with oversight from the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The Fund represents an important part of the UAE’s strategy to support sustainable development through the deployment of renewable energy projects in communities across the globe.