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8th Session of the Assembly of International Renewable Energy Agency

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17th January 2018 The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) continues to play it lead global role in promoting the widespread use and application of feasible renewable energy technologies throughout the world. IRENA has just concluded the eighth session of its Assembly which took place on the 13th-14th January 2018 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The Assembly is the Agency’s supreme decision-making body and brings together Heads of State, Ministers, government officials, and representatives from the private sector, civil society and other international organisations to reaffirm the global renewable energy agenda and make concrete steps to accelerate the global energy transition. Upon the Assembly’s agenda is the Agency's new strategic and programmatic direction in the context of the Work Programme and Budget for 2018-2019 and Medium-term Strategy 2018-2022.

In addition, numerous programmatic discussions were held on current trends in renewable energy policy and technology, including in the form of two Ministerial Roundtables that discussed these matters at the highest level. The Assembly took place at the outset of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and followed by the World Future Energy Summit, from 15 to 18 January 2018, which will also feature a number of events hosted by IRENA. Given the significance of the Assembly, Pacific Island members of IRENA participated in this very important meeting, including Dr Tevita Tukunga, the Director of Energy, and Mr Paula Ma’u, CEO of MEIDECCC in Tonga.

Scaling up the renewable energy deployment in SIDS were addressed during this 2 day Assembly. IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin in his address said, “For developing countries, renewable energy is a triple win: it provides a cost-effective means of providing electricity to families, fuels economic growth, and supports energy independence and security.”  IRENA’s partnership with the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) continue to provide a staple, low-cost source of financing to help many developing countries who have trouble accessing financing for renewable energy investment. These developing countries includes the Pacific Island Countries.

Thanks to the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility, almost 120 MW of renewable energy capacity will be brought online to support increased energy access, improved livelihoods, and cleaner air quality.

The ADFD is a national organisation owned by the Abu Dhabi government. Established in 1971, its purpose is to help emerging countries by providing concessionary loans to finance sustainable development projects alongside other long-term investments and direct contributions. ADFD is the leading national entity for development aid, and the IRENA is the global platform for international cooperation on renewable energy.

Since 2014, ADFD has allocated USD214 million to 21 projects, attracting over USD420 million in additional co-financing from governments and development funds. PICs have benefited from the ADFD including the La’a Lahi Solar Facility project at Vava’u which was completed in 2013 for Tonga. There are still current projects funded from the ADFD in PICS which includes:

 

-          Republic of Marshall Islands

Solar PV micro-grids with advanced lithium-ion battery storage to be constructed on four islands. Over 16,000 people will gain access to affordable renewable energy, reducing diesel generation and encouraging economic growth. An innovative rainwater harvesting system is also proposed for one of the solar PV arrays that will provide fresh water to 15,000 people.

-          Solomon Islands

A 20MW hydropower plant that will reduce the country’s dependence on expensive imported diesel and provide affordable and reliable renewable electricity to 5000 people. The project will stimulate a considerable amount of local employment and has encouraged the participation of a wide range of community groups during the preparatory stages.

-          Samoa

Bioenergy plants powered by woody biomass and coconut residues will bring clean electricity to two islands of Upolu and Savai’i. Local coconut collectors and producers of copra will benefit from a steady source of income, while farmers will develop sustainable harvesting practices.

Applications for the sixth cycle of funding are now open until 17:00 GST on 15 February, 2018. Visit www.irena.org/adfd to learn more.

IRENA currently has a MoU with the Pacific Community in both parties are committed to  follow a holistic approach to support the Tonga-based Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE) in developing a sustainable renewable energy market in the Pacific through coordinated capacity development, knowledge management and awareness and investment promotion activities that will support and strengthen governments, utilities and entrepreneurs to create an enabling environment for renewable energy markets and investments.

 
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