The Pacific Islands will soon have a regional centre of excellence in renewable energy and energy efficiency to support efforts to accelerate the adoption of feasible renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies across the region.
The hosting arrangement for the centre is being discussed this week at the Vienna Energy Forum being held by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in Austria from 18 to 20 June.
At the international forum, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) will provide an update on behalf of the Pacific delegation on progress to establish the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
In April 2014, Pacific Ministers for Energy and Transport agreed to establish the centre – a first for the Pacific – that will become part of UNIDO’s network of regional Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Centres of Excellence, along with centres for the Caribbean Community, Economic Community of West African States, the Southern African Development Community and the East African Community.
Renewable energy currently represents less than 10 per cent of total energy use in the 22 Pacific Island countries and territories.
While Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Samoa are leading the way with large-scale hydropower projects, there is enormous potential to expand the deployment of other renewable energy options such as solar, wind, geothermal and ocean-based energy sources.
The Pacific centre will work towards the creation of an enabling environment for regional renewable energy and energy efficiency markets by mitigating existing barriers.
In particular it will focus on building capacity, knowledge management and awareness in the region, as well as on business and investment promotion.
The Pacific entre is a follow-up to collaboration between SPC and UNIDO on a strategic programme for scaling up renewable energy markets in targeted Small Island Developing States in the Pacific.
The Vienna Energy Forum offers the opportunity to present the Network of Sustainable Energy Centres for Small Island Developing States to a wider audience, including identified funding sources. SPC will be represented by its Deputy Director, Energy, Solomone Fifita.