In a landmark development for the sustainable energy sector in Kiribati, stakeholders recently gathered for the inaugural meeting of the Kiribati Sustainable Energy Association, backed by the Pacific Community's (SPC) Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE). The meeting, which coincided with a consultation on the Electricity Code of Practices under the Kiribati Energy Act, brought together licensed electrical contractors, solar installers, and electrical technicians. The event aimed to lay the foundation for a more resilient and sustainable energy future for the nation, setting an example for other Pacific Island countries in the region.
Amidst enthusiastic discussions and productive sessions, the Kiribati Sustainable Energy Association came into being. Over 20 energy experts and professionals elected Teiraoi Tetaba as the association's President. The birth of this association signifies a new era in fostering dialogue, knowledge exchange, and collaborative efforts to bolster Kiribati's energy sector's sustainability and resilience.
The Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE) played a pivotal role in supporting the establishment of the Kiribati Sustainable Energy Association. With the PCREEE's guidance, Kiribati now joins Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Tonga in the Pacific Region's Sustainable Energy Industry Association. This association aims to support sustainable energy startups, promote entrepreneurship, facilitate strong collaborations, and advocate a unified voice in shaping government policies in the energy sector.
The consultation also involved the Kiribati Energy Planning Division of the Ministry of Infrastructure of Sustainable Energy (MISE). During the session, Mr Asita Langi from the Tonga Energy Commission (TEC) gave intensive training on electrical wiring rules and inspections. Mrs Agnes Nikoraa Naare, Acting Secretary for MISE, expressed deep gratitude for PCREEE's ongoing support in establishing the association and strengthening MISE's capacity to develop the Electricity Code of Practices. “This partnership highlights the commitment to promoting sustainable energy practices in Kiribati and creating a safer environment for everyone involved in the energy sector”, she said.
The energy stakeholders also recognised the importance of ensuring safety and compliance with the NZ/AS 3000-2018 standards for electricity customers and properties. Over 10,000 residential and business buildings are required to undergo reinspection of their wiring. PCREEE, MISE, and TEC collaborated to train inspectors, electrical contractors, and solar contractors on proper wiring and inspection processes to ensure adherence to safety standards before connecting to the main grids.
With the support of PCREEE, MISE hopes to finalise the Electricity Code of Practices by August 2023. The Ministry will continue to work closely with the Kiribati Sustainable Energy Association to ensure compliance and the safety of electricity users. The Pacific Islands' ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse emissions by 2030 offer promising business opportunities in various renewable energy sectors. Kiribati and the newly formed association are poised to capitalise on these opportunities and contribute to a cleaner and greener future for the region.
The establishment of the Kiribati Sustainable Energy Association and the consultation on the Electricity Code of Practices mark a significant step towards sustainable energy development in Kiribati. With PCREEE's unwavering support, the nation is gearing up to embrace renewable energy initiatives, foster collaboration, and create a safer and more sustainable environment for its people. The success of these efforts not only sets a precedent for the Pacific Islands but also offers valuable lessons to the global community in advancing sustainable energy practices.