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[Radio Australia] World Bank, Kiribati Sign Agreement For Solar Energy Project

President Tong says solar will provide secure power for Kiribati

By Dominique Schwartz

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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 25, 2013) – At the Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland, Kiribati President Anote Tong and the World Bank signed an agreement for a $4 million project to deliver solar energy to the main atoll of Tarawa.

Australia is providing most of the money to install the solar panels which will provide 15 percent of the nation’s electricity, currently generated by expensive, imported diesel.

President Tong says his country cannot process its valuable fish catch onshore because of the high cost of diesel.

“Kiribati faces big challenges – it is remote, it is at risk from the effects of climate change, and it is vulnerable to economic shocks,” he said.

“Shifting Kiribati’s focus to reliable solar energy will provide a more secure, more sustainable power source for the country’s people.”

Solar power, he says, will not only provide clean, cheaper power, but lucrative economic opportunities.

World Bank Country Director for the Pacific Islands, Franz Drees-Gross, says it is hoped the solar panels will reduce diesel fuel use by up to 230,000 liters a year.

“The residents on Tarawa are completely reliant on imported oil for their energy needs, which is expensive, inefficient and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

“This project is a win-win for Kiribati and sets an important precedent for renewable energy development in the country.”

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra
Copyright © 2013 Radio Australia. All Rights Reserved

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