Wednesday 8 August 2012, Nadi, Fiji
Many developing countries face significant problems in ensuring that 100% of their population has access to energy. In Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, electricity is only accessible to about 20% of the population, making them the most disadvantaged countries in the Pacific region in this regard. Making the private sector a part of the solution could assist in addressing energy security challenges in these countries, and a joint project by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Business Climate Facility (BizClim) aims to do just that.
Following a study in PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to identify the potentials and opportunities in renewable energy and energy efficiency as well as identifying the barriers to harnessing these opportunities, SPC and BizClim organised a two-day ‘Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Trade and Investment Forum’ (8–9 August 2012) in Nadi, Fiji, to share the findings of the study with key stakeholders in the region and discuss the potential for private sector investment in new energy projects.
Representatives from Pacific Island country and territory (PICT) government ministries, utility regulators, development banks, power utilities, the energy industry, development partners, chambers of commerce and regional organisations are participating in this forum.
Welcoming delegates to the forum, Mr Solomone Fifita, the Deputy Director (Energy) at SPC’s Economic Development Division, emphasised that discussions would focus on how the private sector could be assisted to invest in greener, cheaper and more sustainable energy sources.
He said the project had special significance to SPC as the organisation was the lead regional coordinating agency for energy initiatives in the region and had a mandate to respond to the Pacific Forum Leaders’ decision to commit to a renewable energy and energy-efficient future based on achievable, practical and voluntary targets.
The opening address was delivered by His Excellency, Peter Carmichael Lake Eafeare, Papua New Guinea’s High Commissioner to Fiji.
‘I cannot overemphasise the fact that access to sustainable modern energy services, such as electricity, contributes to poverty eradication, saves lives, improves health and helps provide for basic human needs. These services are essential to social inclusion and gender equality, and that energy is also a key input to production,’ he told the delegates.
‘The studies done in PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have identified opportunities in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Furthermore, the barriers to utilising this promising potential have been identified and I sincerely hope your discussions will identify positive steps to removing these barriers,’ said Mr Eafeare.
In his introductory remarks, Mr Ronato Mele, Representative of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) for the Pacific, spoke about EU’s intervention in this area.
‘In the framework of the ninth and tenth European Development Funds, energy efficiency and renewable energy represented one of our main areas of intervention in the Pacific,’ he said. ‘So far, EU has contributed more than €65 million to both national and regional projects in this domain.’
Mr Mele assured the forum of EU’s continued support to the efforts of the Pacific countries to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and to extend electricity services to a large percentage of the Pacific Island population.
In his keynote address, Mr Shiu Raj, Director of the Economic Governance Division at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, highlighted how countries could promote increased investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency by removing disincentives.
He encouraged countries to look at mechanisms such as reducing import duties on renewable energy technologies to reduce the already large upfront costs; reforms in government procurement that would favour items that are energy efficient or use renewable sources; creating investment incentives through reforms to allow lower (or no) tax on investment bonds issued for ‘green’ investments; and removal of subsidies that support the inefficient use of energy in sectors such as agriculture, fishing, shipping and land transport.
The SPC/BizClim trade and investment forum provides key stakeholders an opportunity to critically assess the policy framework for energy security and undertake business environment reforms that will create more favourable business and investment conditions.
The consulting company Equinoccio was contracted by BizClim to conduct the study while Particip was contracted to organise the trade and investment forum.
For more information, contact Avnita Goundar, Information Officer, Economic Development Division, SPC, Suva, Fiji (email:
or Michel Lepropre, Logistics and Communication, Particip, Freiburg, Germany (email:
Photo caption: Devil’s Point Wind Farm (11 X 275 kW wind turbines) on Efaté Island in Vanuatu results in 1650 tonnes of oil savings.