ADB to Help Deliver Renewable Energy to the Pacific

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing assistance to the Pacific to help design and deliver renewable energy products to the region through a $3 million grant for the development of small pilot projects in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.

ADB's Board of Directors has approved a technical assistance grant sourced from the Multi-Donor Clean Energy Fund under the Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility. The Facility promotes energy security and a transition to low-carbon economies through cost-effective investments, especially in technologies that result in greenhouse gas mitigation. The fund is financed by the governments of Australia, Norway, Spain, and Sweden, and administered by ADB. The governments of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu will provide non-cash contributions of $200,000 each.

"The assistance is key to improving power services in the region and is one of a number of initiatives ADB is undertaking to address climate change in the Pacific," said Eugenue Zhukov, Regional Director of ADB's Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office in Sydney. "The ADB technical assistance also aims to help Pacific countries lessen their dependence on imported fossil fuels."

The planned activities include the development of a mini hydroelectric project in Papua New Guinea, the promotion of alternative fuels project such as coconut oil in Solomon Islands, and support for the development of a solar farm for grid-based renewable energy in Vanuatu, among others.

Many people in rural Pacific countries lack access to reliable, safe, and affordable electricity, hampering economic growth. Rural electrification in Papua New Guinea is less than 10%; Vanuatu, 7%; and Solomon Islands, 5%.

The technical assistance will be implemented in two phases over three years.

"These pilot projects will lay the groundwork for establishing a pipeline of more ADB renewable energy projects for the region," said Milovan Lucich, Project Team leader.