Renewable energy high on SIDS agenda
The International Renewable Energy Agency, or IRENA, says within the next 10 years, at least five Pacific nations will have 100 percent renewable energy.
The International Renewable Energy Agency, or IRENA, says within the next 10 years, at least five Pacific nations will have 100% renewable energy.
Its Director General, Adnan Amin, is in Samoa for the third Small Islands Developing States Conference.
Dr Amin told Mary Baines that unlike previous SIDS conferences, this year's will not only focus on broad political expressions of the importance of renewables, but will deliver concrete partnerships that will result in real change.
ADNAN AMIN: Well a lot has been made of the climate change case and undeniably climate is a very important consideration in small island states but small island states are not the originators of the climate change problem so mitigation or carbon mitigation is not neccessary a major issue for them. What is a major issue for them is sustainable livelihoods and how do they provide energy to their economies in a period of potential growth when current energy sources are far too expensive and polluting and have negative impacts. So the real driver for the interests of small island states is the fact that now with changing costs of technology, new experience in terms of positive models and best practices, we are seeing renewables increasingly competitive and in fact I think in most small island locations they are the most competitive solution and they are outcompeting conventional sources of power generation so I think the economic equation and the business case for renewables today is compelling. The question is how do you develop the whole infrastructure, knowledge, policy and framework around it that enables that to happen.
MARY BAINES: So that is something you will be looking at at SIDS? How you actually implement this to work? What is the solution here?
AA: Absolutely. We have launched a series of efforts since we started operations four years ago - we are the newest international organisation in the world but we have a very laser like focus on renewables. We have helped these countries with very specific technical information like for example may of them don't have a very clear idea of what the grid stability impact would be of integrating variable renewables. We are working on a dynamic grid modelling methodology with the universities of Germany which we are able to bring in at very low cost. For some countries that has transformed the perspective of what's possible. In the Pacific for example there are countries who were told they couldn't go beyond 20% and who for using our methodology with a few technical fixes that are not very expensive are able to go up to 50%. Beyond 50% is going to be a very different challange but up to 50% the grid stability is working very well. So a lot has been done but the key issue again is going to be how do you develop policy frameworks and we have worked with a number of countries in terms of developing road maps for policy, developing technology roadmaps that give them a very clear idea how they can go into renewables as a major part of their energy mix.
MB: So in 10 year's time, where do you see the Pacific in terms of renewable energy?
AA: We will see at last five countries which are 100% renewable electricity - there are a number of them who have very high level ambition, the Cook Islands is talking about 100% by 2018, Tokelau, as you know New Zealand has been very active with Tokelau and the Cook Islands and and this is part of the importance of this process - the partnering that happens. So you have a country like NZ which has huge experience with renewable energy, which is powered largely by renewables in its energy mix, which is able to leverage its experience to help the smaller islands states and we are able to bring funding for example from non-traditional funders like the United States of Emirates who are financing a number of projects in the Pacific for renewable energy and we are developing partnerships with NZ, the European Commission and others in the Asian Development Bank for dealing with different aspects of policy and investment.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: