Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, ladies and gentleman
It gives me immense pleasure to speak here today at this high level event on Sustainable Energy for All. On behalf of the government of Maldives, I highly commend this initiative of His Excellency Mr. Secretary General, calling on governments, businesses and civil society to make commitments to help achieve sustainable energy for all by the year 2030. We in the Maldives look forward to being a key player in this effort.
Small island developing states are the least contributors to global climate change and yet the most vulnerable. With barely a meter above sea level Maldives, contributes only 0.003% to Global Green House gas emissions, and yet is bitterly victimized and on the frontline of climate change impacts. Therefore, the need to address the issue is far greater for us than anyone else here. We are determined to do what we can to address climate change mitigation. At international level, we have taken bold steps, agreed on many targets and devised various plans to transform our energy sectors despite lack of enough resources and capacity to translate these plans into action at national level and take it to the next level. I admit we are very ambitious, and we also realize we cannot do it alone. Therefore, I call upon international support, and with that in place, I am confident, we will be able to achieve our ambitions. One of our targets is of course to reduce our dependency on fossil fuel and increase our energy security. This is a cause very near and dear to our hearts.
Energy security is an issue of great concern to the government of Maldives. We in the Maldives achieved the goal of universal access to modern electricity in the year 2008. Nevertheless, this was achieved at a very high cost. Geographical limitations as a small Island state pose special challenges, demanding individualized and customized facilities to generate energy to meet their demands. At present, our predominant dependence on fossil fuel requires us to rely heavily on an unpredictable global market for our energy sources, putting our energy security at risk. Last year alone, we spent 410 million Rufiyaa on electricity subsidies and this year alone, we have already spent 385 million Rufiyaa. This means 20% of our national GDP is spent on importing fossil fuels to the country. It is therefore, very clear to me that any effort however small, made to relieve our dependence on fossil fuels and adopt renewable, sustainable energy measures is extremely important. At present, only 0.1 per cent of our national energy demand is supplied through renewables irrespective of plentiful sunshine throughout the year as well as other possible avenues to enhance renewable energy. In my opinion, our priorities for the future are very clear: We want to secure our energy supplies, reduce our dependency on imported energy sources and maximize the use of indigenous renewable energy sources.
We in the Maldives realize that if we invest in the right technology, not only would it save us costs, but it will also increase our energy security. To this end, I am proud to announce here today that as one of six pilot countries chosen by Strategic Climate Fund, we have just prepared and endorsed at the national level, a 5 year investment plan to scale up renewable energy in the Maldives. This investment plan will focus on creating an enabling environment to support private sector investment through guarantee facilities, from Multilateral institutions, feed- in tariffs and other investor-friendly policies and is expected to massively transform the energy sector of my country. Success of this plan also would reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and support global efforts to combat climate change. It will also enhance the government’s plan to make the Maldives carbon neutral by the year 2020. I am grateful to the donors and multilateral developments banks who are supporting us in this initiative.
Under the plan, 21 megawatts of electricity would be generated from solar and wind, Six megawatts from waste and 551 tonnes of desalinated water daily as a byproduct. When the plan is successfully implemented, twenty islands in the Maldives would have transformed their electricity sectors entirely to renewable energy. These investments would also save seven million dollars each year from government fuel subsidies and would save us 22 million dollars a year in diesel imports. This will also reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 66,000 tonnes a year. Our country is determined to take the lead and demonstrate by example, to the rest of the world that achieving carbon neutrality is possible, viable and applicable in the Maldives. We are very sure that investing in renewable energy will become the biggest business opportunity in Maldives and it will be a great way forward to create sustainable environment for all. Indeed, those who invest in modern energy today will emerge as the winners of the twenty first century.
Before I conclude, once again I congratulate you Mr. Secretary General, on your Sustainable Energy for All Initiative and wish the programme every success.
I thank you for your attention.