Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company Masdar has announced that it has began construction on four new UAE-funded solar power projects in the Pacific Island countries.
These solar power projects, in Kiribati, Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, are financed through the $50 million UAE-Pacific partnership Fund under the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD).
The projects will collectively deliver 1.8 megawatts of clean energy and contribute to fuel savings worth $2 million per year, Masdar said in a statement.
The 1.8 megawatts of total capacity announced incorporates a 550 kilowatt (kW) installation across three islands in Fiji, 350 kW on Funafuti Island in Tuvalu, 400 kW in Tarawa in Kiribati and 501 kW in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
The projects are expected to be completed by the second half of 2015, the statement added.
“Access to clean energy is a pathway toward economic and social development,” said Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar.
“For Pacific islands, which rely on imported fuel for electricity generation, renewable energy provides a viable alternative. In fact, wind and solar power projects deliver immediate savings, while underpinning long-term energy security.”
Masdar has already delivered the La’a Lahi ‘Big Sun’ solar plant in Tonga, commissioned in November 2013, and Samoa’s first wind farm that was commissioned in August 2014.
Both these projects were also financed through the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund, which was launched in March 2013.
To date, the fund has supported the delivery of 2.8 megawatts of renewable energy capacity across six countries in the region. These projects have collectively replaced 1.5 million litres of imported diesel fuel and avoided the release of 4,450 tonnes of carbondioxide each year.
The UAE is also supporting renewable energy projects in other developing countries through the ADFD fund, sponsoring projects from Ecuador to Sierra Leone.
These include a 15-megawatt solar photovoltaic plant in Mauritania and a project in Afghanistan that supplies 600 residences with off-grid solar photovoltaic systems.
ADFD also recently funded a six-megawatt wind farm in Seychelles that powers more than 2,100 homes.