Masdar says work starts on Pacific island solar projects

UAE-based clean energy firm says construction underway on projects in Kiribati, Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu
Masdar says work starts on Pacific island solar projects
(Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)
By Andy Sambidge
Fri 02 Jan 2015 09:51 AM

UAE-based clean energy firm Masdar has announced that construction has started on four new solar power projects in the Pacific island countries of Kiribati, Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Financed under the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development’s $50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund, the solar projects will collectively deliver 1.8 megawatts of clean energy and contribute to fuel savings worth $2 million per year.

Completion of the projects is expected by the second half of 2015, Masdar said in a statement.

The Abu Dhabi renewable energy company has already delivered the La'a Lahi 'Big Sun' solar plant in Tonga, commissioned in November 2013, and Samoa’s first wind farm, commissioned in August 2014. Both of these projects were also financed through the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund.

“Access to clean energy is a pathway toward economic and social development,” said Dr Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar. “For Pacific islands, which rely on imported fuel for electricity generation, renewable energy provides a viable alternative. In fact, wind and solar power projects deliver immediate savings, while underpinning long-term energy security.”

The $50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund was launched in March 2013 by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nayhan, UAE minister of foreign affairs, and administered by the ministry’s Directorate of Energy and Climate Change.

To date, the fund has supported the delivery of 2.8 megawatts of renewable energy capacity, across six countries in the region. The six projects collectively replace 1.5 million liters of imported diesel fuel and avoid 4,450 tons of CO2 each year.

“The UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund demonstrates the tangible benefits that renewable energy offers all developing countries,” said Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, director-general of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. “Today, renewables are cost-effective and offer real solutions for growth across the Pacific.”

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