Pacific energy regulators participated in a panel discussion on ‘Unlocking the flow of financing to clean energy access and transition in Pacific Island Countries’ at the UNESCAP Asia and Pacific Energy Week in Bangkok, Thailand, on the 17th of October, 2023.
The panel shed light on the challenges and opportunities surrounding the investment climate and pipeline for clean energy projects in the Pacific Region.
The Pacific Community’s (SPC) Acting Deputy Director of the Georesources and Energy Programme, Florence Ventura, spoke on the renewable energy ambitions of SPC member states, the Framework for Energy Security and Resilience in the Pacific, as well as the outcomes of the 5th Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministers meeting hosted in Port Vila Vanuatu in May 2023. She also addressed the disparities in the flow of finance across Pacific Island countries and identified common challenges.
The Director of the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification in Solomon Islands, John Korinihona, shared the challenges and opportunities unique to Solomon Islands, highlighting government initiatives and legislative changes. Korinihona also explored the effectiveness of climate finance and proposed key measures to unlock its flow.
Paul Kaun, Chief Executive Officer of the Utilities Regulatory Authority in Vanuatu and co Vice-Chair for the Office of Pacific Energy Regulators Alliance (OPERA), offered insights into the energy regulatory environment in the Pacific. Comparing views on regulatory approaches across OPERA members, Kaun delved into the role of the private sector and how regulators interpret political declarations, such as the Port Vila Declaration for a just transition to a fossil fuel-free Pacific.
Following this, Paul Makumbe, Pacific Regional Director at CAMCO, provided a private sector perspective, discussing investment climates and needs across Pacific Island countries.
Steven Hunt, Senior Energy Innovation Advisor at the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), outlined the UK's support for Pacific Island countries. He addressed the synergy between donor countries, Multilateral development banks (MDBs) and climate funds, offering insights on effective collaboration. Additionally, he drew from experiences in other regions that could be applied in the Pacific context.
The panel discussion was moderated by Fiji’s Commerce Commission Chief Executive Officer, Joel Abraham.