On Thursday 26 April, the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE) marked its first anniversary of operations with a ceremony in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. PCREEE was created as a gateway to promote greener and more efficient energy use in the Pacific as well as to be a platform for stronger partnerships between public and private sector leaders. In its first 12 months of operations, the Centre has made substantial progress and is already having a visible impact on energy use in the region.
The Centre has trained more than 100 people in the Pacific on sustainable energy businesses and carried out capacity building and technical activities jointly with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the US. Organizationally PCREEE has fully implemented its institutional structures, established Thematic Hubs, created National Focal Institutions and formed an active steering committee. Based on this success, it is no surprise that PCREEE has secured confirmed funding for its operations over the next 4 years and has more than 50 million USD of funding proposals under consideration.
Speaking at the anniversary ceremony, Mr Paula Ma’u, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communication (MEIDECCC) highlighted the Centre’s importance to the region and Tonga’s pride as the host nation saying, “PCREEE is a regional entity but it is also a national treasure for Tonga. We have been entrusted by the leaders of the Pacific to host this special centre and Tonga and its partners are duty-bound to ensure PCREEE serves its mission for the Pacific Community family.”
SPC’s Deputy Director Georesources and Energy, Mr Akuila Tawake highlighted PCREEE’s successful approach to strengthening SPC’s in-country presence, building strategic partnerships with member countries and collaborating within a global network of regional centres of excellence in priority areas for the Pacific Island countries and territories.
Participants at the ceremony also heard congratulatory messages from core partners in the establishment of PCREEE including the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Government of Austria and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Dock.
In his congratulatory message, the Secretary General of the SIDS Dock, Dr Al Binger said, “We cannot achieve Island Energy for Island Life by 2033, nor the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, without increasing our efforts to provide additional resources to empower our most vulnerable citizens whose lives continue to be negatively impacted by climate related disasters. All people should have access to affordable energy- energy rights are human rights”.
PCREEE is part of a network of global regional centres of excellence on renewable energy and energy efficiency. There are currently 7 UNIDO-established regional centres in the network all working towards a common goal of working with public and private sector leaders to turn away from fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.
PCREEE is coordinated by SPC in collaboration with its sister regional organisations (Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Pacific Power Association, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the University of the South Pacific).