Vanuatu Launches New Activities to Improve Access to EnergyMay 26, 2017
The government of Vanuatu kicked-off new project activities to advance the implementation of its national climate plan or NDC,which aims at transitioning to close to 100% renewable energy in the electricity sector by 2030.
The new project activities will focus on the implementation of NAMAs as one of the key vehicles to achieve the NDC target. Vanuatu has already managed to successfully attract EUR 1 million in funding for its Rural Electrification NAMA from the government of Austria (the funding agreement was signed at COP22 in Marrakesh last year). The NAMA will expand access to sustainable enegy for households, public facilities and income-generating activities.
The new NDC project activities under UNDP will help leverage the Austrian funding through a techno-economic feasibility study for the selected communities. A team of experts, which included UNDP, visited the selected communities for initial scoping from 25th of April to 1st of May.
In the communities of Wintua and Lorlow on the island Malekula , experts assessed local energy needs, ability to pay and the potential for the productive use of electricity for income-generating activities. Access to electricity will be provided to Wintua’s public and commercial buildings such as primary school, secondary school, kindergarten, health center, maternity ward, church, pastor´s house, market houses, shops, provincial centre, community center and cooperative house.
Productive use of electricity will support the improved market access of fruits, kava, fish, handicrafts and expansion of cooperatives. Tourist facilities, incuding existing guesthouses and the airstrip with connection to Norsup/East Malekula will benefit from electrification as well. In total, almost 600 people will improve their livelihoods through electricity.
In Lolowai on the island of Ambae, the team visited an existing electricity grid for which a potential extension line to a college and staff houses was assessed. Currently, the college hosts 400 students and relies on diesel generated electricity mainly. The college director showed high interest in connecting to the extended grid, which is run by copra (coconut-based) oil and diesel. This would allow him to reduce the electricity bill and provide additional services to students for their school fees.
The site visit provided the technical experts to establish an information basis for the development of the technical feasibility study.