ADB sees renewables as key to energy future of Pacific islands

(SeeNews) - Oct 15, 2013 - Renewables such as wind, solar and hydropower plus energy efficiency can help the states in the Pacific region meet the challenges posed by growing energy demand, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) says in a new report.

According to the Energy Outlook for Asia and the Pacific, energy consumption in the region is to jump to 8.8 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2035 from 3.6 million in 2010. The ADB calculates that the annual growth rate will be 3.7%. According to the bank so far the region’s dependence on imported fossil fuels has obstructed its development. Power prices in the Pacific are among the highest globally, while only 30% of homes have electricity.

ADB projects that Papua New Guinea (PNG) will bring 75.8% of total primary energy demand in the region by 2035. According to the report PNG needs to keep its focus on hydropower generation instead of boosting its reliance on fossil fuel power. ADB also calls for changes in the regulatory and administrative processes in order to improve accountability and transparency so that the investment environment in PNG becomes more welcoming.

The Energy Outlook for Asia and the Pacific report also examines the Cook Islands, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. All these have no coal, oil or gas resources. Yet, solar power, wind and hydropower generation are good alternatives, the bank says.

The ADB has already provided loans and grants of some USD 187.5 million (EUR 138m) to support renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Pacific, it said. It is involved in hydropower projects in Solomon Islands, solar schemes in Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga, and wind farm development in Micronesia. Between 2013-2015 the bank is to pour around USD 270 million more.

(USD 1 = EUR 0.737)

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Tsvet has been following the development of the global renewable energy industry for almost nine years. She's got a soft spot for emerging markets.

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