The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) has launched a two-year renewable energy training program for Pacific Island countries financed by Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the leading national entity for development aid.
The training is being led by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company.
The capacity-building initiative falls within the framework of the ADFD-funded US$50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund (UAE-PPF). Masdar developed and is now managing the training programme in collaboration with delivery partners from the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, and two leading green energy consultancy companies – New Zealand’s Elemental Power and Renewables, and Australia’s ITP Renewables.
The first workshop in Suva, Fiji, in late October 2017 received 25 representatives of the 11 Pacific Island countries that have implemented renewable energy projects through the UAE-PPF – Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau, Kiribati, Nauru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.
Decision makers and senior executives from the beneficiary countries will receive high-level training at a second workshop prior to the IRENA General Assembly during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January. A third session, planned for October 2018, will cater to project and technical managers responsible for utility operations and renewable energy project planning in the Pacific region.
Ali Al Shafar, the UAE's Permanent Representative to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), said: “The UAE-PPF has concretely demonstrated that renewables offer immediate cost savings and can integrate seamlessly with existing power systems at much higher rates than previously estimated. The new training programme leverages both regional and international expertise to keep the momentum up on planning and executing transformative projects that support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate agreement.”
Khaled Ballaith, Director of Special Projects at Masdar, said: “Based on tangible project experience in the Pacific, the new training programme aims to share lessons and to provide delegates from the island nations with more knowledge and insight. It is important that those involved in the projects on a day-to-day basis are empowered to deploy and capitalise on the renewable energy sources available in their countries.”
Adel Al Hosani, Director of Operations at ADFD, said: “As a result of the success of the UAE-PPF, financed by Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, this training programme seeks to assist Pacific Island countries in unlocking their wind and solar potential to drive energy security, job creation and socio-economic development.”
The UAE-PPF was launched in 2013 to address the development challenge posed by the Pacific region’s energy costs that are among the highest in the world.
To date, the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund has enabled the installation of a total of 2.8 megawatts of renewable energy capacity and replaced approximately 3.2 million litres of imported diesel fuel. The combined output of the projects implemented through the fund has saved US$3.7 million per year in fuel costs (based on 2015 diesel prices) and eliminated approximately 8,450 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
Inspired by the success of the UAE-PPF, MoFAIC is today leading the deployment of renewable energy projects in 16 Caribbean countries in partnership with ADFD and Masdar through the ADFD-funded US$50 million UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund. Launched at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January 2017, the fund represents one of the largest grant investments in the region’s renewables sector to date.