Marshalls looks to solar to 'walk the talk'
The Marshall Islands is seeking US$22 million for a major solar power project aimed at significantly reducing the country's carbon footprint.
The Marshall Islands is seeking US$22 million for a major solar power project aimed at significantly reducing the country's already negligible global carbon footprint.
One of the project main aims is to introduce 35 percent solar power in the Marshalls second largest urban power grid on Ebeye island, as well as a switch from 100 percent diesel power to 90 percent solar power in the three outer islands of Jaluit, Wotje and Rongrong.
If successful the initiative will save the government around US $2 million in annual subsidies to the islands concerned.
Our correspondent Giff Johnson told Koroi Hawkins the project is a new approach for Marshall Islands.
GIFF JOHNSON: What's different about this is that over the past few years the Marshall Islands here has done very well in getting home solar units out into remote islands but this project is aggressively addressing diesel power use for urban and outer island centre use which is expected to save the Marshall Islands government more than two million dollars in a year in diesel fuel payments and subsidies.
KOROI HAWKINS: Of course setting up alternative energy projects is always expensive to start off with, how much is this going to cost and who is putting up their hand to fund it?
GJ: The solar plan in the Marshalls is estimated at 22 million dollars, that's US dollars. They are looking at two donors. They put in an official request to the World Bank for a grant for 11 million and to IRENA which is the alternative energy funding agency of the United Arab Emirates for what would be a low interest loan to match the World Bank's 11 million. There seems to be a lot of optimism on this, I think because it offers a significant change for the Marshall Islands in terms of really addressing its diesel power use right now. It would also complement a separate project that's now going into Majuro which is a big solar installation which will feed into the Majuro electricity grid about 600 kilowatts from the sun. This overall, if this new plan comes through, would significantly cut back on power cuts at least for diesel fuel that has been what the two urban centres have relied on for many years.
KH: And apart from the obvious economics of it all, there is also a bit of a political and international statement to be made here.
GJ: This is what the new president Dr Hilda Heine is saying that even though pretty much everybody recognises that the carbon emissions level of the Marshall Islands doesn't register on a global scale, she says that the Marshall Islands wants to show that its doing its part and it wants to continue reducing its carbon footprint and this is one way to do it.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: