Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Wednesday inaugurated a solar photovoltaic micro grid project that brings clean energy to some of Fiji’s outer islands.
The solar plants, constructed by Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar, have combined total capacity of 555 kilowatts (kW) and will provide more than 40 per cent of the daily electricity demand of each of three islands. The energy produced will collectively avoid emitting 722 tonnes of CO2 each year and save 259,000 liters of diesel fuel worth $497,000 annually.
“The UAE is committed to demonstrating how renewable energy can provide clean power and spur economic development while mitigating climate change, particularly for Pacific Island countries. We commend Masdar and ADFD on successfully completing solar micro grids that will help Fiji meet its electricity needs in a more sustainable manner,” said Shaikh Abdullah, at the inauguration that took place in the town of Nadi, on Fiji’s main island.
The clean energy project is the third financed by the UAE’s $50 million Pacific Partnership Fund, through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD). The Fiji project was financed with $5 million from the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund, which was launched in March 2013 to support development renewable energy projects across a number of Pacific islands.
“The UAE and Fiji have a strong bilateral relationship, and we thank the government of the UAE for funding, developing and delivering this important and valuable project. The micro grids will provide electricity for homes as well as help produce clean energy to develop small-scale industries and enterprises in these remote islands,” said Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji, at the inaugural event.
The three new solar micro grid projects include a 249kW solar plant in Kadavu Island, a 153kW solar plant in Lakeba Island and a 153kW solar plant in Rotuma Island.
“We are proud that the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund could play a role in bringing clean, sustainable power to Fiji with the inauguration of the solar-powered grids. The UAE, through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, is committed to helping promote economic development in countries around the world,” said Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, director-general of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.
Masdar has established a solid track record in the Pacific Islands, completing a 500kW solar plant on the Kingdom of Tonga’s island of Vava’u, commissioned in November 2013, and a 550kW wind farm on Samoa, commissioned in August 2014. The UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund financed both projects. “Fiji’s new solar-powered grids are a prime example of how renewable energy can be a cost-effective way of producing low-carbon power for Pacific Island countries. As a leading developer of innovative renewable energy projects, Masdar is proud to deliver sustainable solutions that provide greater clean access to energy and accelerate economic development globally,” said Dr Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar.
The Pacific Island projects address the high cost of diesel imports in Pacific countries, as well as delivering reductions in CO2 emissions. Research from the International Renewable Energy Agency indicates that renewable energy is now the most cost-competitive source of power in the Pacific Islands.