Vanuatu Signs On For Multimillion Solar Power Project

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Joins four other Pacific signatories for UAE Pacific Partnership

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 22, 2014) - The delegation of the Vanuatu officials to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) General Assembly (GA) in Abu Dhabi marked a historical achievement particularly for the Vanuatu Energy sector when Minister Thomas Laken signed on behalf of the Vanuatu Government with the Government of United Arab Emirates (UAE), an agreement for the construction of a 500kW Solar Grid connected PV system in Port Vila.

This is worth US$5 million (approximately Vt500 million). Vanuatu is one of the five Pacific Island countries that signed the UAE Pacific Partnership Fund.

The delegation to the IRENA General Assembly was headed by the Deputy Prime Minister, Edward Natapei, Minister of Climate Change and Energy Thomas Laken, and the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Director of Energy. The meeting was held on 18 -19 January 2014.

IRENA is the International Agency responsible for facilitating the increased deployment and penetration of Renewable Energy by assisting member countries to overcome barriers to the increase use of Renewable Energy, increase access to modern electricity and affordability.

Om 18 January 2014, the Deputy Prime Minister at the Assembly joined other 21 members and non-members of IRENA in signing the Global Atlas on Renewable Energy. The Global Atlas is a non-binding agreement that allows countries to contribute data on Renewable Energy sources including wind data, solar, geothermal, wave and hydro.

Such data will assist IRENA to update and map out Renewable Energy potential for its member countries.

At the meeting, IRENA highlighted numerous areas of assistance which includes the Global Atlas, REMAP 2030, Renewable Readiness Assessment, Project Navigator and the IRENA/ADFD Project facility. The delegation noted with great interest the potential areas of collaboration with IRENA with great interest and is looking forward to seeking assistance from IRENA in implementing some of the activities highlighted in the Vanuatu National Energy Roadmap.

Vanuatu's National Energy Roadmap has an ambitious target of 65% Renewable Energy Roadmap by 2020. On the road to achieving that target, IRENA may play a vital role in in its area of technical assistance and facilitating the up-scaling of Renewable Energy in the Country.

According to Minister Laken, the trip to the Middle East is a very successful visit as the project he signed is the biggest historical solar project that Vanuatu has ever seen. This project follows intense negotiations between the Governments of Vanuatu and UAE over the last 2 years.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been doing all it can to grow the relations between the two countries, with the hope that this relations will eventually bear fruit. The Government of UAE has a growing relation with the countries of the Pacific and this is an opportunity that all PICs should build upon to ensure that the peoples of the Pacific are linked with other peoples of the world.

Minister Laken has been working hard to build the Ministry of Climate Change and is confident that during this Government's term he will ensure to get in more projects to assist the Government and the communities.

He has taken historical strides to build, strengthen the Energy unit and transform this into the department so he is confident that this department will continue to grow in significance.

The Deputy Prime Minister will continue his visit to Kuwait at the invitation of the Kuwaiti Government. This trip is aimed at deepening the dialogue between the two countries and to eventually find ways to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries.

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