Fiji officials hope to increase biofuel in outer islands
Officials in Fiji hoping to increase Biofuel use in outer islands.
Officials in Fiji hope to have the electricity networks of the country's outer islands entirely powered by biofuel diesel by the end of the year.
The fuel, made from mixing diesel with coconut oil and copra, is already being produced at mills on the Koro Island, as well as Taveuni and Rotuma.
A biofuel engineer with Fiji's energy ministry, Jeke Pai, says the mills are already increasing the electricity hours of electricity the remote islands have, as well as having other flow-on effects.
Jeke Pai, from Fiji's energy ministry, speaking to Jamie Tahana.
JEKE PAI: Basically this Koro project is the first of the number of projects that the government implemented in the outer islands with the intention of providing affordable and easy access to fuel for electricity on the island. Basically the fuel they are using is 80 percent diesel and 20 percent refined coconut with some additives. This fuel is sold at a cheaper price on the island, so, it's helping the islanders a lot.
JAMIE TAHANA: How much cheaper is it compared to regular diesel?
JP: On the island at the moment, it is also terrible when the shipping is on schedule, we have 3 Fiji dollars per litre and when there's hardly any shipping it goes up to 3.50 Fiji per litre. This fuel here is around 40 to 50 cents cheaper than the diesel fuel on the island.
JT: And does 40 to 50 cents a big margin for these people, what can they do now with this cheaper fuel that they couldn't before?
JP: Well, first of all, we have access to fuel, sometimes there's a problem trying to get the fuel from the mainland because of shipping so now they have fuel on the island, it's a reliable fuel supply, secondly they can do other economic activities, for example they have freezers for the fishing industry, they can process virgin coconut oil on the island to export and all those such activities that they are doing on the island and this is possible with this fuel that we are supplying through the biofuel mill.
JT: Currently this is only on 3 sites but you have plans to spread it to other outer islands. Is that correct?
JP: Yes, of course. At the moment we have Cicia, Rotuma and Koro where the mills are running and in the coming months, most probably at the end of this month to next month, we will have 4 more operating from Vanua Balavu, Nadi Lakeba and Gau. The other two is from Moala Matuku, those two are still under construction and should be operational by end of this year.
JT: And so, you hope to have all of the outer islands powered by this stuff.
JP: They are moving in this direction.
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