Pacific Energy Summit Secures Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding

26 March 2013: The Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland, New Zealand, which brought together Pacific Island leaders, international investment and development banks, aid donor countries and private sector representatives, resulted in funding commitments of US$635 million to support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Pacific Island countries.

The commitments entail US$255 million in grant funding and US$380 million in concessional loans to support over 40 of the 79 proposed projects and activities. Partners that have made commitments include: Australia; New Zealand; the United Arab Emirates (UAE); the EU; the Asian Development Bank (ADB); the European Investment Bank (EIB); the Japan International Cooperation Agency; and the World Bank Group.

The projects are intended to foster sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as mitigate climate change. The projects will contribute to the goal of Pacific Island countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% by 2015, as envisioned in the Pacific Islands Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy project (PIGGAREP).

The Summit, which was held from 24-26 March, was co-organized by the Government of New Zealand and the EU. The Summit featured plenary sessions on: renewable energy in the Pacific; and Pacific energy plans and roadmaps. Parallel sessions were held on: energy challenges and opportunities; financing renewable energy and energy efficiency; and mobilizing the private sector in the Pacific.

The Pacific Energy Summit was preceded by a two-day Pacific Leaders Energy Summit in Nuku'alofa, Tonga, on 21-22 March. Pacific Island country leaders discussed national energy strategies and roadmaps to support the further deployment of renewable energy in the region. The Tonga Energy Road Map (TERM) was highlighted as a useful case study of a whole of sector approach to energy development. Addressing the Summit, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), emphasized the role that small island developing States (SIDS) have played in securing a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. She called for enhanced and speedier action at the international, national and private sector levels to achieve a low-carbon economy. She also noted that initiatives such as TERM “help to pave the way for the needed international legally-binding agreement, by providing much-needed examples and success stories of transitioning beyond fossil fuels.” [Pacific Energy Summit Website] [Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme Press Release] [European Commission Press Release] [Government of New Zealand Press Release] [Government of Tonga Press Release] [Christiana Figueres' Statement]