In 2009, the government of Tuvalu adopted the country’s National Energy Policy (NEP), setting out the objective to supply 100% of its electricity needs with renewable energy sources by 2020.
Building on these efforts, in September 2013 the government of Tuvalu signed on to the Majuro Declaration by the Pacific Islands Federation, reaffirming its commitment and providing further details into the components of the strategy. According to this Declaration Tuvalu aims to supply between 60-95% of its power needs using solar PV systems, 0-40% using wind power, and an additional 5% using imported biodiesel. The Declaration also aims to reduce electricity demand by 30% on the main island of Funafuti through a range of energy efficiency improvements.
Tuvalu has recently established the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Unit within the Tuvalu Electricity Corporation (TEC) in partnership with the New Zealand Aid Programme. The aim of this new Unit is to help Tuvalu reduce its dependence on imported diesel, improve the efficiency of the power system, reduce carbon emissions, improve the overall operational effectiveness of TEC, and develop a strategy for the increased development of solar and wind power generation on the island.
Tuvalu’s National Energy Policy does not include explicit policies to support renewable energy development like feed-in tariffs or net metering. Instead, it has what is analogous to a Renewable Portfolio Standard in its 100% RE target. This suggests that the strategy will rely on most projects being funded by external development assistance, on a bilateral basis with the Tuvalu Electric Company, rather than through the implementation of policies that would allow citizens and businesses to invest in RE systems and export power to the grid. It is therefore likely that most projects will remain government owned.
With strong international support for Tuvalu’s ambition to achieve its 100% RE target, the modest sums required to reach the objective, and an experienced team of international experts in the e8 group, Tuvalu is well positioned to reach its 100% target. In the process, it will have established a cleaner and more resilient electricity system, one less exposed to rising fossil fuel prices, and better equipped to continue to raise awareness about the importance of tackling global climate change.
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014