[Marianas Variety] Renewable energy in the Freely Associated States
NOUMÉA, New Caledonia (Secretariat of the Pacific Community) — The North Pacific African, Caribbean and Pacific Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project, or North-REP, has begun the new year with a lot of activity across the North Pacific in the Freely Associated States — the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau. These three countries have targeted the energy sector, especially new and renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency, for funding under the 10th European Development Fund and have combined their allocations into a multi-country program with a total budget allocation of approximately $20 million until 2014.
In RMI, 252 solar home systems have been delivered and installed in December 2012 at the communities of Maloelap and Ailuk atolls. In total, 1500 new systems will be installed under North-REP, providing basic electricity to some 7500 people for the first time, while 1600 systems were installed under previous energy programs. RMI is focusing all of its current program on providing reliable renewable electricity to outer island communities in an effort to increase socioeconomic development throughout the nation.
FSM has seen solar photovoltaic, or PV, equipment for micro/mini grid systems arrive in Yap with the installation to be coordinated by the Yap State Public Service Corporation. In Chuuk, solar PV equipment that will be installed on some of the lagoon island schools has arrived in Weno, along with 3,500 solar lanterns that will go to families on these islands. Installations in the lagoon islands will start in March this year and in the outer islands of the Mortlocks in April. Kosrae has received solar lanterns for the Walung community, which is currently not connected to the main grid. These lantern systems will be installed in 50 households and will provide basic electricity for the first time to 200 people. In Pohnpei, the rehabilitation of the Nanpil hydro project is being pursued with the request for proposal to companies interested in the project published on Jan. 15, 2013. The RFP can be found at http://www.spc.int/en/on-going-tenders.html.
In both RMI and FSM, the solar systems are intended to be used to improve educational services and to increase the potential for economic development in the outer islands. They will also have a positive impact on accessing communication systems and will be instrumental to power other needs, such as early-warning systems.
Several events have also recently happened in Palau. Palau Community College has agreed to have energy efficiency and renewable energy training programs integrated into its existing programs, and these courses are currently being developed. Energy efficiency retrofitting work for government building is under way, and the National Development Bank of Palau is progressing with its energy efficient retrofitting loan subsidy program for existing private households and commercial buildings. More than 26 households have already enrolled in this program. These households and government entities will see a large savings in their utility bills by using energy efficient appliances.
In addition to the installation of renewable energy technologies and the promotion of energy efficiency, North-REP has provided specific training to power utility and other energy personnel in the three countries. The recruitment of local counterparts in RMI and for Chuuk and Yap in FSM has been accomplished. These local counterparts will continue the work established by North-REP at its conclusion in 2014.
The overall objective of North-REP is to improve the quality of life on the outer islands and to reduce the islands’ overall dependence on fossil fuels by improving the overall efficiency of the energy sector through energy efficiency and grid-connected renewable energy. The achievement of this responds directly to Millennium Development Goals targets 2, 4, 5 and 7.