UAE, Tuvalu and Kiribati Inaugurate Two Clean Energy Plants in the Pacific Region

Masdar delivers solar projects in two Pacific island nations that will collectively reduce 1,200 tons of CO₂ emissions while saving US$545,000 in fossil fuel costs annually

  • A 500 kW solar photovoltaic plant on Funafuti, Tuvalu, will deliver clean energy to more than 800 homes
  • A 500 kW solar and water protection plant on the Tarawa atoll of the Republic of Kiribati will supply electricity to 860 homes

14 October 2015, Abu Dhabi – Two Pacific island nations will this week inaugurate individual solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants funded by the United Arab Emirates and developed by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company.

Starting yesterday, Tuvalu inaugurated a 500 kW solar PV power plant on the atoll of Funafuti. A 500 kW solar PV and water protection plant on the Tarawa atoll of the Republic of Kiribati, will also be officially inaugurated this week. The inaugurations mark the completion of the two solar PV projects co-designed and managed by Masdar in cooperation with the governments of the Pacific island countries of Tuvalu and Kiribati.

The projects form part of the UAE’s support for economic and social development of Pacific island nations, while also showcasing the viability of sustainable clean energy development models. The projects aim to reduce the Pacific island nations’ dependency on imported diesel, freeing up essential financial resources for other developmental projects.

The plant located on Funafuti – the most populated atoll that hosts the capital of the Tuvalu island nation – was funded by the US$50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

The majority of the system is built on a 4 metre structure creating 1,840 m2 of shaded public space that is limited on the atoll. In addition, it includes a new workshop-storage facility with 540 m² floor space, as well as further space for office and recreational use. The Funafuti solar and space creation project will not only supply electricity to over 800 homes by yearly generating 783,000 kWh, but will also save 206,000 litres of diesel each year – bringing about a saving of US$280,000 and a reduction in CO₂ emissions of 570 tons annually

The inauguration in Tuvalu was attended by Dr Mohammed Al Qubaisi, Director of the Energy Affairs Division in the Directorate of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and Tuvalu Prime Minister the Honourable Enele Sosene Spoaga, as well as the Governor General the Honourable Otinielu Tauteleimalae Tausi.

Dr Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar, speaking from Abu Dhabi, said: “These two projects not only demonstrate the UAE and Masdar’s commitment to helping Pacific island nations deploy sustainable renewable energy solutions, which play a vital role in driving forward the social and economic development for the people of Tuvalu and Kiribati, but clearly, and equally important, also highlight the ongoing work we are doing to combat climate change through our renewable energy projects.”

According to Dr Belhoul, the acceleration of the adoption of renewable energy and reduction of pollution are imperatives to promote climate change mitigation – and therefore the diversification of the energy mix through deployment of renewable energy is considered vital to this goal.

“As a strong supporter of COP 21 as well as the energy-related sustainable development goal adopted by the United Nations, Masdar’s efforts to limit the impact of climate change, including our commitment to broaden access to clean energy for a greater number of people, are clearly demonstrated through the delivery of the solar plants of Tuvalu and Kiribati,” he added.

The Honourable Enele Sosene Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, said: “The Solar Space Creation Project could not have come at a better time as the price of fuel has soared in recent years. This project would contribute approximately 40% towards the Tuvalu Electricity Corporation peak demand which could save more than 200,000 litres of diesel fuel per annum, about 8% of the annual fuel consumption of the Fogafale Power Station. The existing total generation capacity equals 1.8 megawatts of which 22% is by the Solar Space Creation Project”.

SOLAR WATER PROTECTION PROJECT – KIRIBATI

Development of the 500 kW solar and water protection project on Tarawa, Kiribati, was started in December 2014, and completed in August this year. It will officially be inaugurated later this week. The republic, comprising 33 coral atolls, lies in the Central Pacific, and has a population of more than 100,000 – half of whom live on Tarawa atoll where the capital, South Tarawa, is situated.

The plant protects the only aquifer located on the island that has been under threat of contamination due to high levels of human migration to the area as a result of limited living space. The plant features advanced technologies to control output and will annually deliver 855,000 kWh to 860 homes. It will cut back on more than 227,000 litres of diesel, resulting in an approximate saving of US$265,000 which may be repurposed for other developmental areas. The plant will also reduce CO₂ emissions by 627 tons each year.

The Honourable Waysang Kumkee, Minister for Public Works and Utilities of Kiribati, said: “Sustainable energy is a prerequisite for developmental and economic growth for any society. The renewable energy to be delivered through the solar and water protection plant in Tarawa helps the country overcome not only the constraints of natural fuel resources, but also eases access to large numbers of individuals and families to sustainable electricity provision.”

Of the projects being delivered under the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund, several have already been delivered or are currently under construction. The first completed project was the 512 kW solar PV installation in Tonga, while others include the first ever 550 kW wind farm for Samoa, and three micro grid solar plants in Fiji that supply clean energy to some of the nation’s outer islands, as well as the solar plants for Tuvalu, Kiribati and Vanuatu. Further projects in the Marshal and Solomon islands, Palau and Nauru are under construction as planned, with yet another project for the Federated States of Micronesia to be signed shortly.

-Ends-

For further information, please contact:

For English:

Phillip Vosloo

pvosloo@apcoworldwide.com

Mob: +971 55 134 2957

For Arabic:

Wael Hayatli Amro Deeb

whayatli@apcoworldwide.com adeeb@masdar.ae

Mob: +971 55 965 5728 Mob: +971 50 125 1010

About Masdar

Masdar is Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company which works to advance the development, commercialisation and deployment of clean energy technologies and solutions. The company serves as a link between today’s fossil fuel economy and the energy economy of the future. Wholly owned by the Mubadala Development Company PJSC, the strategic investment company of the Government of Abu Dhabi, Masdar is dedicated to the United Arab Emirates’ long-term vision for the future of energy and water. For more information please visit: www.masdar.ae or connect with Masdar at facebook.com/masdar.ae and twitter.com/masdar. For further media enquiries, please contact press@masdar.ae.

About Abu Dhabi Fund for Development

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development is a Government of Abu Dhabi national institution established in 1971 to assist developing countries by providing concessionary loans to finance development projects in those countries, as well as direct, long term investments and contributions. Simultaneously, the Fund undertakes the management of government grants provided by the UAE through direct supervision and monitoring of project implementation and progress. The fund has provided and managed more than 58 billion UAE Dirhams since its inception until to date to finance 353 projects in 62 countries around the world. For more information about Abu Dhabi Find for Development, please visit: www.adfd.ae

About the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund

The US$ 50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund was launched in March 2013 by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nayhan, the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and is administered by the ministry’s Directorate of Energy and Climate Change. The fund covers project feasibility studies, engineering design, plant equipment supplies and installation, construction and operation and maintenance training.