On June 29, GGGI and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) co-hosted an informal meeting of development partners, NGOs, training institutions and private sector representatives in Suva, Fiji to discuss opportunities for green energy in the electricity and transport sectors for Fiji and the Pacific Island Countries.
In presenting to the group on the accelerating advances in renewable energy technology, Global Green Growth Institute’s Director General, Mr. Frank Rijsberman said that renewable energy technology is constantly evolving to actively address development challenges for electricity production and transportation. With the cost of solar energy falling so fast and wind energy already cost-competitive against diesel, investments in these two technologies are continually increasing. In many cases solar is now also cost competitive with diesel.
The meeting was part of efforts by GGGI and KOICA to link up with partners in the region, explore synergies between public and private sector and the role of broader civil society in the promotion of sustainable energy. The lively discussion sought to explore opportunities for use of renewable energy as well as collectively address regulatory barriers that would prevent its widespread uptake.
Some barriers acknowledged on the day were the need for a clear policy and regulatory environment that fosters better links with the private sector to create partnerships, as well as the need to develop more well-designed projects to attract finance. During the meeting Dr Rijsberman also outlined the development challenge to understand user needs, so that projects and technologies can be targeted to achieve the desired outcome for the population. Then users will fully participate in something that they can engage with and is useful.
There was also discuss on the transition to sustainable energy in the transport sector, where maritime transport is an expensive but vital necessity for the island nations. While hybrid vehicles are by far the most popular option by Fijian citizens due in part to its affordability as well as reliability, there also need to be cleaner energy at affordable prices for inter-island domestic sea transport.
One of the conclusions of the meeting was that there are opportunities for Pacific Island countries to access funding to support land and maritime transport using renewable energy. Dr. Rijsberman also added that globally renewable technology is fast becoming the most affordable option to meet new energy needs. The steady drop in the cost of batteries, their durability and improved storage capabilities can assist Pacific Islanders in meeting one hundred percent of their energy needs through renewable energy systems.