Sheikh Abdullah (third left), Sheikh Sultan (left) and Dr Al Zeyoudi (right) with Fijian officials K

Sheikh Abdullah (third left), Sheikh Sultan (left) and Dr Al Zeyoudi (right) with Fijian officials K

UAE-funded solar plants open in Fiji

The UAE’s largesse in installing solar plants in the Pacific islands provides cheap electricity to islanders and supports the global objective of clean energy

March 2015

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s minister of foreign affairs, inaugurated a solar photovoltaic micro grid scheme that brings clean energy to some of Fiji’s outer islands. Constructed by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, 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.

“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 Sheikh Abdullah, at the inauguration that took place in the town of Nadi, on Fiji’s main island.

The minister had launched the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund in March 2013 to support development of renewable energy projects across a number of Pacific islands.

The solar plants together have a 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 litres of diesel fuel worth $497,000 annually.

“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 249 kW solar plant in Kadavu Island, a 153 kW solar plant in Lakeba Island and a 153 kW solar plant in Rotuma Island.

“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 ADFD.

Masdar has established a solid track record in the Pacific Islands, completing a 500 kW solar plant on the Kingdom of Tonga’s island of Vava’u, commissioned in November 2013, and a 550 kW 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,” 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.

Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, director of the department of East Asia and Pacific, and Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, permanent representative to the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) and director of energy and climate change, represented the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the event.

Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Pio Tikoduadua, Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, from the government of Fiji also attended the inauguration.

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