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EU and New Zealand Strengthen Energy Cooperation with Tuvalu

Funafuti, Tuvalu
24 April 2014

For Immediate Release

EU and New Zealand Strengthen Energy Cooperation with Tuvalu

European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs and New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully have jointly welcomed today’s signing of a declaration on energy cooperation between the European Union, New Zealand and Tuvalu.

“The European Union and New Zealand began coordinating their respective development programmes in Tuvalu's energy sector shortly after last year's Pacific Energy Summit which we jointly co-hosted", Mr Piebalgs said.

"This declaration will pave the way for even stronger, more express collaboration in the delivery of our joint commitments to Tuvalu, and more specifically, in the area of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

"The European Union has already begun activities in three outer islands, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae and Nui, and in the capital, Funafuti, where I will inaugurate a demonstration solar system later today".

Ninety five percent of Tuvalu's electricity is currently derived from diesel, which places considerable strain on the country's economy and hampers its development.

"This declaration strengthens the framework for supporting Tuvalu to develop a more efficient and sustainable energy sector”, Mr McCully said.

“New Zealand has already begun the implementation of four mini-grid photo voltaic/hybrid systems in the islands of Niutao, Nanumanga, Nanumea and Vaitupu. When completed, these systems will provide these islands with 90 percent of their power needs and will help ensure there is more reliable and efficient energy.”

Mr Piebalgs and McCully are in Tuvalu as part of a joint New Zealand and European Union Pacific mission. They will also visit other activities funded by the European Union and New Zealand, including borrow pit remediation sites, a solar power array and an eco-sanitation project. (ENDS)

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