Palau Coral Reef Center Takes Steps Toward Energy Independence

PICRC to install rooftop solar electricity systems

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, June 3, 2016) – Palau Coral Reef Research Center Board of Directors approved a plan to make the Center energy independent by investing in a renewable energy program, a rooftop solar power generation system.

Once installed, the solar system will be able to meet the energy needs of the Center and in essence, make the Center energy independent. Taking advantage of Palau’s Net Metering Act, the Center would be able to generate twice the power it needs during the day, with the excess generated going to the grid.  In the evening, the Center will use the power from the grid that was deposited during the day.

According to Noah Idechong, Chairman of the PICRC Board of Directors, “The Board aims to initiate a strategic energy and sustainability plan for PICRC, with an emphasis on creating clear, actionable goals with measurable impacts. By implementing such a plan, we hope we can encourage more dramatic energy sustainability action in Palau and can serve as an example to other island economies facing similar challenges.”

The Board’s decision to invest in renewable energy is driven by the obvious need to reduce operational costs and to also demonstrate the benefits of alternative energy resources and energy conservation measures.  The latest shift towards renewable energy supports and contributes to Palau’s Energy Policy, which aims to reach 20% renewables by 2020.

For its part in both contributing to the nation-wide mitigation and adaptation efforts to climate change impacts, as well as to ensure its own financial sustainability, the Palau International Coral Reef Center’s (PICRC) Board of Directors has taken its own steps towards this goal.

Palau, as an island nation is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. As such, it has taken steps to reduce these negative impacts, including sea level rise and ocean acidification. The government developed the Palau National Energy Policy and more recently, Palau’s leaders endorsed its first national climate change policy, first food security policy, and passed a new law, Palau Energy Act (RPPL No. 9-54) – all of which demonstrate tangible nation-wide efforts to build Palau’s resilience to the anticipated effects of climate change.  As the main contributor to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is the burning of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil) for energy and transportation, one way to build national resilience to climate change is to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.

Island Times
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Great thanks to the Board of Directors of PICRC, and special thanks to Noah Idechong for his long and strong efforts to build Palau's resilience. We hope to visit next year.

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