Renewable energy projects to power remote islands; 767kW solar plant officially launched

Hon. Ham Lini, Ministry of Climate Change, Disaster Management, Environment and Energy, PM Charlot Salwai, a representative of UAE's Pacific Partnership Fund and Minister for Public Utilities and Infrastructure Jotham Napat at the the official inauguration ceremony today for the 767kW Solar Grid Connected System, which will save Vanuatu 340,000 litres of imported diesel. Photo: Hilaire Bule

Hon. Ham Lini, Ministry of Climate Change, Disaster Management, Environment and Energy, PM Charlot Salwai, a representative of UAE’s Pacific Partnership Fund and Minister for Public Utilities and Infrastructure Jotham Napat at the official inauguration today of the 767kW Solar Grid Connected System in Port Vila. Photo: Hilaire Bule

PM Salwai has been reported on Radio Vanuatu News speaking of renewable energy projects in the pipeline for Vanuatu. He announced them yesterday at the commissioning of the United Arab Emirates solar panels in the Parliament and Climate Change areas. He mentioned the 1.5 kilowatt system at Devil’s Point financed by the European Union and Vanuatu Government. A 48 kilowatt biofuel system at Sola in the Banks is also supported by the EU and VanGov and will supply electricity to the Torba provincial headquarters area. At East Ambae there is to be a 144 kilowatt biofuel system supplying some 200 households. There will be a 75 kilowatt hydro system on the Talise River on Maewo, which Italy and Vanuatu Government are supplying, for some 260 houses, and there will be a 3 kilowatt hydro project at Loltong for some 60 households. Brenwei and Sarakata also have new projects in the pipeline—thankfully NOT an oil pipeline.

Ham Lini as the Minister for Climate Change and Energy warmly expressed Vanuatu’s gratitude to the United Arab Emirates for their generous support in the presentation of the 767 kilowatt solar grid connected in the compound of the Climate Change Ministry and Parliamentary surrounds at its handing over yesterday. He explained that the Government is now committed to the National Energy Road Map of 2013 which sees an increase in renewable energy projects, both urban and rural. We are working towards 100% renewable energy in 2030, he said. Vanuatu was fortunate to be amongst five Pacific nations to benefit from the package which has brought us the solar panels at the Ministry and Parliament which translate into 340,000 litres per annum of diesel fuel saved. The solar panels were commissioned in November 2015. Minister Lini encouraged all electricity operators to explore every renewable option.

Government is committed to hosting the Pacific Mini Games next year. Prime Minister Salwai announced this at the opening of the Pacific Games Council’s meeting taking place at Le Lagon. The PGC President Vidya Lakhan thanked the Prime Minister for Vanuatu’s support to ensure next year’s event is a successful one. Australia and New Zealand are attending the meeting for the first time and it was learned that they will be permitted to compete in two sports here next year.

The next generation of Pacific patrol boats produced by Australia has been unveiled by Daily Post today. RVS Tukoro and other similar vessels in other island countries are being replaced. Australia is spending A$ 2 billion to make the changes. The vessels include packages of training and maintenance materials and the company Austal Ships Pty Ltd will be constructing the 21 vessels planned for the Pacific Maritime Security Program (PMSP). We learn that the replacement patrol boats will be complemented by an increase in the level of aerial surveillance and regional support.

The first RSE workers have taken off for New Zealand and will be learning a lot about viticulture as they are going to Blenheim. 35 men are going now and a further 30 in October. (Daily Post)