Kiribati : South Tarawa Renewable Energy Project (Phase 2)

Sovereign Project | 49450-030

The proposed project will initiate and contribute to the transformation of the Kiribati energy sector to one that is low-carbon and adapted to growing climate and natural hazards. It will do this by installing the innovative, climate-adapted and efficient floating PV (FPV) for power generation and for services and benefits beyond electricity.

Project Details

Project Name South Tarawa Renewable Energy Project (Phase 2)
Project Number 49450-030
Country / Economy Kiribati
Project Status Proposed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant: South Tarawa Renewable Energy Project (Phase 2)
Asian Development Fund US$ 22.00 million
Ireland Trust Fund for Building Climate Change and Disaster Resilience in Small Island Developing States US$ 500,000.00
Government of New Zealand US$ 14.00 million
Operational Priorities OP1: Addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequalities
OP2: Accelerating progress in gender equality
OP3: Tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability
OP6: Strengthening governance and institutional capacity
Sector / Subsector

Agriculture, natural resources and rural development / Water-based natural resources management

Energy / Electricity transmission and distribution - Energy sector development and institutional reform - Renewable energy generation - solar

Transport / Water transport (non-urban)

Gender Effective gender mainstreaming

The proposed project will initiate and contribute to the transformation of the Kiribati energy sector to one that is low-carbon and adapted to growing climate and natural hazards. It will do this by installing the innovative, climate-adapted and efficient floating PV (FPV) for power generation and for services and benefits beyond electricity.

The project will indicatively install 4 megawatts (MW) FPV, 3 megavolt-ampere (MVA) /5 megawatt-hour (MWh) BESS, and 33 kilovolt (kV) underground transmission network on Betio, as well as 5 MW FPV, 4 MVA/xx MWh BESS, and 33 kV underground transmission network in Bikenibeu, including all related grid integration and control systems. Adaptive low-carbon productive uses of energy infrastructure installed. The FPV systems will be designed to integrate priority sustainable value-added end-uses to maximize the use of daytime solar energy. The project will also indicatively install productive uses of energy infrastructure such as (i) a water storage, treatment, and distribution system, (ii) an agriculture/aquaculture pilot project (iii) electric vehicle and charging station, and (iv) coastal protection and disaster risk reduction measures. The project will also include institutional capacity strengthening.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

Kiribati's remoteness from major markets and most resources leads to high import costs, while its low elevation averaging only 2 meters above sea level creates severe vulnerability to sea-level rise and other climate change impacts. Like many other small Pacific islands, Kiribati's power generation and transport rely heavily on imported diesel fuel, transported over long distances across the ocean and subject to weather and climate-change related supply disruptions. This dependence exposes Kiribati to high and fluctuating oil prices and has resulted in one of the region's highest costs of power generation. Around 60% of Kiribati's population of 119,449 (2020 estimate) lives in South Tarawa, which has a land area of only 16 km2. The extreme land constraint limits food production further exposing the country to the high cost of imported food. Saltwater intrusion and other natural hazards endanger the limited freshwater resource and further damage the aged water supply infrastructure, both contributing to the spread of water-borne diseases and greenhouse gas emissions from boiling water using kerosene or biomass. All infrastructure lies on land close to the coast.

The Government of Kiribati has prioritized strengthening fuel security and reducing emissions and hopes that continued investments in renewable energy, energy storage, and distributed technologies improve the country's energy security, increase grid reliability, while reducing diesel consumption. However, the approach to developing the energy sector has focused on maintaining the existing generation and distribution network, and progressively replacing diesel with land-based PV.

Due to climate change, the current model to developing the energy sector is no longer sustainable. Over the last two decades, Tarawa has become particularly vulnerable to climate hazards, with longer and more intense dry periods, more regular flooding, sea level rise (SLR), extreme weather events, higher temperatures, and storm surges. SLR means that there will be far less dry land available to host energy infrastructure, reclamation is costly, and the future location of suitable land is unknown. Coastal erosion and SLR threaten all land-based infrastructure and thus, adaptive climate-resilient technologies and approaches are now required.

A sustainable, accessible energy supply is vital to lowering vulnerability and to providing a basis to all adaptation pathways. Access to clean energy and water allows communities to develop climate-adapted livelihoods and, over time, adapt more successfully to climate change. For example, sustainable energy supply provides a basis for: (i) sustainable food and water supplies; (ii) reliable education facilities; (iii) reliable health care facilities; (iv) low-carbon transport; and (v) other innovative end-use technologies and applications


Renewable energy generation increased in Kiribati.

Greenhouse gas emissions reduced in Kiribati.


Generation and utilization of reliable, resilient and climate-adapted clean energy in South Tarawa increased


Climate-resilient floating solar photovoltaic, ground-mounted solar photovoltaic, battery energy storage system and grid infrastructure installed

Adaptive low-carbon productive uses of energy infrastructure installed

Institutional capacity for inclusive and climate-resilient renewable energy project development and implementation enhanced

Geographical Location
Safeguard Categories
Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement B
Indigenous Peoples C
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design
During Project Implementation
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services All consultants will be recruited according to ADB's Procurement Policy (2017).
Procurement All procurement of goods and works will be undertaken in accordance with ADB''s Procurement Policy (2017).
Responsible ADB Officer Tiangco, Cinderella C.
Responsible ADB Department Sectors Group
Responsible ADB Division Energy Sector Office (SG-ENE)
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Finance and Economic Development
Concept Clearance -
Fact Finding 26 Jun 2023 to 29 Jun 2023
MRM 06 Oct 2023
Approval -
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 30 Sep 2022

Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

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None currently available.

Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards
Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.

Title Document Type Document Date
South Tarawa Renewable Energy Project (Phase 2): Resettlement Plan Resettlement Plans Oct 2023
South Tarawa Renewable Energy Project (Phase 2): Initial Environmental Examination Initial Environmental Examination Oct 2023

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.

Related Publications

None currently available.

The Access to Information Policy (AIP) establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced in its operations to facilitate stakeholder participation in ADB's decision-making. For more information, refer to the Safeguard Policy Statement, Operations Manual F1, and Operations Manual L3.

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No tenders for this project were found.

Contracts Awarded

No contracts awarded for this project were found

Procurement Plan

None currently available.