Renewable Energy Takes Center Stage at Small Island Developing States Conference in Samoa

Declining costs of renewable energy technologies, abundant examples of successful deployment, better business models, available investment and the need to decarbonize energy to address climate change have created a momentum of opportunity that must be seized.

On the occasion of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, the Government of Samoa, the Government of New Zealand and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) co-organised the Renewable Energy Forum. The Forum gathered some 300 participants from across regions and sectors, from Heads of State to local Samoan communities.

The Prime Minister of Samoa, the Hon Tuilaepa, opened the Forum by highlighting the potential for SIDS to lead the way forward towards a sustainable future.  The Prime Minitser said, “There is a lot of potential for changing the energy paradigm and sustainable development in SIDS and we are convinced of the key role that renewable energy plays in this context. SIDS are rich in renewable energy resources and we have the political will to harness them in a sustainable manner.”

Under-Secretary General, Wu Hongbo, echoed the Hon Tuilaepa’s statement adding that the “Forum will provide an opportunity to build momentum and strengthen dialogue on policy, technical and entrepreneurial approaches to enhancing the use of renewable energy technologies in SIDS.”

Forum participants also highlighted challenges met, remarking on the need for support to build legislative and regulatory environments and institutional, technical and financial capacity. Building on opportunities and overcoming challenges, Forum participants were clear that their actions are strengthened by working in partnerships, and committed to innovate in this dynamic sector to find optimal ways of sharing technical expertise and experiences, and in providing support and finance.

The Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency, Adnan Z. Amin, summarised the Forum by noting the wealth of experience shared and extraordinary leadership demonstrated by SIDS. He stressed that, “The SIDS Conference and the upcoming UN Climate Summit present a unique opportunity to build momentum and accelerate action in renewable energy in SIDS. The Renewable Energy Forum has demonstrated that SIDS are leading the way to shifting the paradigm for the future.”

Forum participants futher commented on the need to take a systematic “many partners, one goal“ approach to thier transition whereby SIDS take the lead in developing respective strategies and are backed by regional and global parteners joining political leadership, technical expertise, financing and community involvement. Forum stakeholders were clear that the time is right. Declining technology costs, the need to decarbonize energy to address climate change, clear examples of success, better business models and available investment have created a momentum of opportunity that must be seized.