Renwable Energy, SIDS and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda
H.E Thoriq Ibrahim, Minister of Environment and Energy
27 September 2015
Let me thank the organizers Government of New Zealand and IRENA for inviting this important event. I am honored to be with you today on this session on the Renewable Energy, SIDS and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. In this age of climate change, power sources, such as the sun or wind, are becoming increasingly relevant. Renewable energy can help countries to not only meet their sustainable development goals but it can also provide access to electricity to the more than a billion people worldwide that lack exactly this: Access to electricity. Distinguished delegates, you all here know about the prospects, energy for all has for people and for societies:
• Electricity enables children to study after dark.
• It enables water to be pumped for crops, and foods and
medicines to be refrigerated.
• And modern fuels for cooking and heating relieve women
from the time-consuming drudgery and the danger of
traveling long distances to gather wood.
The good news is that renewable energy has gone mainstream with tens of giga watts of wind or solar PV capacity being installed worldwide every year creating a renewable energy market that is worth more than a hundred billion USD annually. And recent years have not only seen reductions in the costs of renewable energy technologies but also an increase in the introduction of new technologies combined with growing research and development activities. To reach the Sustainable Development Goals and to provide reliable and affordable energy services for sustainable development, three ingredients are required:
The first one is capital to pay for solar or other renewable electrical generation for those households that still depend on kerosene; The second one are business models for the poorest households to pay for the electricity they use, at the price it really costs, which is a lot less than the kerosene that most of the poor people still use if and when they can afford it; And last but not least a global and regional policy, agreements
and partnerships to create the supply chains and distribution networks capable of getting distributed electrical systems to every household that needs them. Fortunately, the historic barriers to getting distributed renewable power to scale in poor villages and neighborhoods are rapidly being dismantled by progress in technology, finance, and business models.
Goal 07 of the new agenda for Sustainable Development adopted last Friday is about ensuring affordability and sustainability of energy for all. Access and affordability of all forms of modern energy also deeply rooted into Small Islands Development Pathway adopted in Samoa also known as S.A.M.O.A Pathway.
Over the years, as SIDS we have undertaken several voluntary commitments mostly beyond our capacity in expanding of renewables to our energy mix. Many successes are done in this context in all the SIDS under generosity of our partners in development. As we are moving to a new agenda for sustainable
development that aims to address all forms of poverty, we urge our partners to provide predictable, adequate and sustainable financing for smoother transformation of fossil fuel based economy to low carbon development. Energy efficiency is also one of the key element for this transformation and I would phrase that the energy efficiency programmes or actions or strategies are the ‘low hanging fruits’ that can be easily
Our economy in Maldives is largely depended on fossil fuel based industry, which makes us very vulnerable to external shock to prices of fossil fuel. Approximately one fifth of our GDP is spent on fossil fuel bills. My fellow islanders will understand risks associated with this high fossil fuel bill, as we are in the same boat. In this regard, collectively as SIDS we have started many programmes such as SIDS lighthouse Programme with IRENA to reduce our dependency on fossil fuel and to explore access to all modern sources of energy
The challenges with diesel based power production not only create energy security risks but it also pollutes our environment causing health related problems and contributes to climate change, which is considered immediate victims. As a responsible government, it is our duty to ensure that such risks are minimized and that the electricity services are reliable, safe and efficient and environment friendly while addressing our
Maldives being a Middle Income Country access to grants and softer loans from international donors are limited. Our graduation from LDC, made us to compete with other countries with stronger economies. In spite of all these hurdles and challenges we are confident that we will achieve the 2030 goals. Maldives have recently formulated a comprehensive Climate Change Policy Framework, and one of the key goal of this framework is to strengthen a low emission development future and ensure energy security for the Maldives. Keeping this in mind, we have formulated a climate change five year Renewable Energy Investment plan and National Energy Policy. In addition a Renewable Energy Roadmap has bee formulated with support from IRENA. We have already started to explore and implement renewable energy projects in the country. I thank IRENA and the Director General Mr. Adan Amin for his personal enthusiasm for promoting RE
in SIDS and especially in my own country.
We have also embarked on achieving a very ambitious renewable energy target. Under our current energy policy, we are planning to install Solar PV up to 30% of daily peak load in all inhabited islands within the next 4 years. Under the projects developed to achieve this target, we have already installed 4 megawatt and installation of an additional 4 megawatt of Solar PV grid connected systems will be initiated this year. By realizing the importance of energy efficiency and energy conservation in achieving the sustainable energy
target, we have commenced number of energy efficiency and energy conservation initiatives.
Ladies and Gentlemen, energy services such as lighting, heating, cooling or cooking are essential for socio-economic development, since they yield social benefits and support income and employment generation. we need to green the global economy with bold implementation strategies and progressive policies to make the transformation of the energy sector to Renewable Energy a success story and to reach our ambitious target of providing Sustainable Energy for all.