EU Funds Renewable Energy Programme

(PNS): July 21, 2005 - Five Forum Island Countries will benefit from an €11.4 Million (FJ$24.2 million) renewable energy programme funded by the European Union (EU).

The programme aims to increase the availability of affordable, renewable energies to island communities.

"Energy is a huge cost for Pacific Island states, and this EU-funded initiative will help make those costs more manageable," said Forum Secretary General, Greg Urwin.

"This is a very timely intervention" said Dr. Roberto Ridolfi, Head of Delegation of the European Commission for the Pacific.

"Oil prices are at or near an all-time high, with significant consequences for the balance sheets not only of the power utilities in all five countries, but for the countries as a whole."

Mr Urwin and Dr Ridolfi today signed the Financing Agreement at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat for the programme, which is to be implemented in the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue and Palau.

In FSM and RMI the programme will focus on the outer islands and will include the supply and installation of household photo-voltaic systems, which are expected to result in improved living standards for outer island communities. In Nauru, Niue and Palau the programme may also cover energy efficiency measures, reducing both energy bills and pollution.

The programme will be implemented via a Project Management Unit that will set up offices in Suva, Fiji and in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.

This team will work closely with the national electricity authorities, the Pacific Power Association and with the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC)