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EU boosts renewable and efficiency energy project in Pacific

The European Union boosts major renewable and efficiency energy project in Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands by €1.75 million

A major renewable energy and energy efficiency project, the North Pacific Renewable Energy Efficiency Project, or North-REP, for the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Republic of Palau (Palau) and Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) was given a further boost today with an additional EUR1.05m for the RMI and EUR0.722m for the FSM, Palau and RMI through an Addendum to the Contribution Agreement that was signed in Majuro, the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Dr Jimmie Rodgers, the Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) as the implementing agency of the European Union (EU)-funded North Pacific ACP Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project (North-REP) signed the addendum with the presence of Ambassador Andrew Jacobs the Head of Delegation of the European Union to the Pacific.

Upon signing, Dr Rodgers highlighted that the North-REP represented a special delivery model where three SPC member countries have entrusted SPC with the responsibility of implementing and managing their national indicative programmes under the EU EDF 10. “This Addendum and the additional funds reflect the confidence the three countries and the EU have in SPC’s management of the North-REP.”

Ambassador Jacobs said “the addendum provides an additional EUR1.05m to the Republic of the Marshall and enables EUR0.722m from the contingencies for the three countries which shall bring the total North-REP funds to EUR15.49m under the financing agreement between the three countries and the EU with the contribution agreement between the SPC and EU to EUR15.32m”. The additional funds to RMI will electrify schools in existing recipient atolls as well as in a few more atolls.

North-REP is installing 1500 solar home systems in 14 atolls of the RMI which will have more than 7000 people access basic electricity for the first time and enables RMI to meet its target of electrification of 95% of its rural outer atoll households before the projected timeline of 2015. The installation of a total of 63kW of standalone solar PV systems in 10 schools, 4 health centres and charging stations for 3500 solar lanterns that provides approximately 7000 people with better lighting in Chuuk State (FSM). In the state of Yap, some 900 people have been given access to reliable and affordable electricity with the installation of a total of 233kW of solar PV micro-grids (including 1 solar-diesel hybrid system). North-REP has enabled the rehabilitation of the hydro power plant in Pohnpei State which will generate 725kW of electricity to the main grid. The third country to benefit from the North-REP, Palau, is scheduled to install a 150kW solar PV grid connected system in Koror.

Dr Rodgers advised that while North-REP has provided the three countries with the appropriate hardware, it has also focused on the issue of sustainability with the establishment of institutional mechanisms with the power utilities and energy personnel including training key personnel in PV installation and maintenance, and the development of user pay modalities. An innovative approach through WUTMI (Women United Towards Marshall Islands) was adopted in the RMI when developing a monthly payment modality using handicrafts – other means of payment is also being explored.

North-REP has the overall objective of improving the quality of life on the outer islands and reducing dependency on fossil fuels. Its purpose is to improve the overall efficiency of the energy sector through energy efficiency and grid-connected renewable energy and increase access of remote populations to reliable renewable electricity services. The achievement of this responds directly to MDG targets 2, 4, 5 and 7.

North-REP is funded by the European Union through the 10th European Development Fund and implemented by the SPC Economic Development Division through the North Pacific Regional Office in Pohnpei, FSM.

ENDS

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