10 Aug 2016

Energy specialist says Pacific can lead the way

3:08 pm on 10 August 2016

An energy consultant says the Pacific has the opportunity to become global leaders in electricity innovation.

Workers from Vanuatu's electricity provider UNELCO repair power lines

Workers from Vanuatu's electricity provider UNELCO repair power lines Photo: RNZI / Koroi Hawkins

The World Bank's Kamleshwar Khelawan said the Pacific has some unique problems which also create unique opportunities.

Mr Khelwan said only 20 percent of Pacific households had access to electricity, although this was skewed by the larger populations of Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.

He said many of the islands were dispersed over a large area, were small, and had very small loads so economies of scale were hard to achieve.

However Mr Khelawan said there were opportunities for Pacific countries to come up with innovative solutions in meeting their needs.

"For example looking at more desegregated plug and play systems for the very remote communities, focussing on mini and micro grids instead of the large grids that larger countries are familiar with. These are some of the areas that where Pacific islands can become leaders in innovation and create solutions."