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FSM President launches bold project to boost energy access for remote communities and reduce reliance on fossil fuels
The President of the Federated States of Micronesia officially launched a large-scale sustainable energy project focused on increasing access to energy for citizens across FSM whilst reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels for energy generation.
The USD 13.7 million equivalent project is being implemented by the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Geoscience, Energy and Maritime Division and being administered by the Micronesia Regional Office based in Pohnpei, FSM and funded by the European Union.
At the official country launch of the project on June 29,2021 the President of FSM, His Excellency David W Panuelo said the launch of this project was momentous for the country and one that he took great pleasure in officially launching.
“It is a day for us, our country and our citizens. One that will greatly improve the lives and livelihoods of the FSM people,” he said.
Presently, FSM spends on average USD 32 million per annum on the importation of fossil fuels to drive access to energy across the country. This FSM Sustainable Energy Project will see a sharp reduction in the reliance of fossil fuel whilst generating more affordable and relevant access to energy solutions for its peoples through renewable energy supply.
“This is an opportunity to highlight our commitments and to do something to address our climate action including climate related targets to reduce greenhouse emissions and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. It allows to walk the talk, I say”.
“It will allow us to expand access to energy for our people that still have limited access and it will allow us to provide cheaper, cleaner, and more accessible energy to our citizens,” said his excellency.
The project will also work with remote and rural communities across FSM’s Chuuk state which has the lowest access to energy. The project ensures all of the community are engaged in how to best efficiently use, maintain and manage solar and other renewable energy systems towards longer term sustainability of the project. The main islands and urban population are to benefit through access to cleaner and sustainable energy sources through fostering investments in the energy sector.
H.E. Panuelo said, “our rural women will be trained and upskilled in renewable energy capacities and key partners will support our utilities to design, install and rehabilitate renewable energy systems so we will be able to reach and maintain our energy efficiency and renewable energy targets”.
Panuelo thanked the European Union and the Pacific Community (SPC) for its long-term commitment and support towards increasing access to energy for all its peoples, no matter the remoteness of their communities.
“I look forward to seeing the outcome of this work when I see the smile on the faces of those that are given access to energy in our remote islands especially because it is renewable energy,” his excellency remarked.
SPC Deputy Director General Cameron Diver congratulated the FSM for its commitment to finding and driving long-term energy solutions that demonstrate to the rest of the world the benefit of transitioning towards more environmentally sound solutions for its people.
“I really hope that this programme will provide demonstrable solutions on the ground that we can show to the rest of the world as solution that the most vulnerable but also the most resilient are taking steps to control their destiny and taking actions to address the global climate crisis,” he said.
The project supports both increased access to sustainable energy solutions whilst supporting access for private sector investment in the energy sector for longer-term sustainability of the work into the future.
“It’s not only the access to renewable and sustainable energy but the focus on really supporting the entry of private sector investment. Sometimes in development we think it all must be born on the shoulders of public funding or public initiatives but if we can create pathways for private sector co-investment it will really help provide a pathway to sustainable access to energy for the FSM and its peoples into the long-term,” DDG Diver stated.
European Union representative Gabor Sasvari commented on how important the project is and that EU was happy to have contributed to FSM energy sector. He also expressed his congratulations to all who have worked tirelessly for the project.
The FSM Sustainable Energy Project Launch and Inception Meeting was held over two half-days on the 29 and 30 of June 2021 with the first Project Steering Committee Meeting was held on 01 July 2021
The USD 13.7million FSM Sustainable Energy Project will work across all four states of the country in partnership with the FSM Government and States. This includes the hiring of staff to be embedded in the government to support its implementation and SPC’s Micronesia Regional Office in the FSM will lead the project implementation alongside the government.
The specific objective of this project is to increase access to renewable electricity and support private sector investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy. That will ultimately support the achievement of the overall objective to improve the FSM population to utilize affordable, reliable, and environmentally sound energy services.
This project is funded by the European Union and SPC recognises the long-term partnership the EU have continued to have with both the FSM and SPC to drive affordable, sustainable, and green energy solutions for the FSM and the region.