05 September 2017 – The Korea Energy Agency (KEA) has agreed to support the newly established Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE) in the development of a regional renewable energy mini-grid programme for the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs). The United Nations Industrial Development Organization’s (UNIDO) Deputy Director General, Hiroshi Kuniyoshi, today met with KEA’s Climate Change Response Executive Director, Kwang-hak Lee, in Vienna, Austria, to sign a US$120,000 trust fund agreement.
The lack of access to affordable and reliable electricity services continues to hamper social development and the productivity of economic sectors in remote island areas. The percentage of the population of the PICTs with access to electricity is among the lowest in the world. This is largely influenced by the bigger and more populated Melanesian countries. Mini-grids have the potential to supply many currently un-electrified settlements and are a cost-effective alternative to conventional solutions.
“The promotion of renewable energy mini-grid markets, industries and innovation is a priority for our region,” said PCREEE Manager, Solomone Fifita, as he commended KEA for the support provided. “Without significant investment, many Pacific islands will not attain their national energy targets as well as universal access to electricity services by 2030.”
The regional mini-grid programme will be implemented by the PCREEE with support from UNIDO, which provides key technical services for the operation of the Centre.
In his statement, Kwang-hak Lee highlighted the excellent cooperation between KEA and UNIDO on energy projects and emphasized the opportunities for Pacific islands to take advantage of technology and knowledge transfer from Korea’s sustainable energy industry.
Hiroshi Kuniyoshi thanked KEA for the long-standing cooperation and expressed appreciation for the recently provided energy efficiency support in East Africa.
The PCREEE was established on 26 April 2017 in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, with technical support from the Pacific Community (SPC) and UNIDO, under the umbrella of the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres.