24 - 27 March 2013 Viaduct Events Centre Auckland NZ

Energy needs in the Pacific

In most Pacific countries, diesel generators are the main source of electricity generation. Almost every aspect of Pacific economies is underpinned, to some extent, by imported fossil-fuel.

This reliance on diesel leaves Pacific economies vulnerable to volatile global fuel prices, high fuel transport costs, potential spills and ongoing carbon emissions that contribute to climate change and raising sea levels that are threatening to small island states. On average 10% of Pacific island countries’ GDP goes towards importing petroleum products, but in some cases this figure exceeds 30%.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Energy efficiency and conservation measures are amongst the most cost-effective ways of reducing the use of diesel. Renewable energy technologies help the Pacific diversify their energy sources, bringing energy security and in some cases applying downwards pressure on energy prices. With oil prices trending upwards, renewable energy technologies are becoming more competitive and attractive for investment. Off-grid generation can also help provide electricity to remote households or communities more cost-effectively than extending distribution networks.

Across the region, opportunities in solar (photovoltaics), wind energy, geothermal, hydro, and bioenergy are being actively pursued and specific investment needs will be discussed at the Pacific Energy Summit.

Energy for economic development

Access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy is essential for sustainable economic development in the Pacific. Energy efficiency and renewable energy development is a priority for all Pacific island countries. At the 2011 Pacific Islands Forum in Auckland, Pacific leaders committed their countries to:

Improve energy security through greater efficiency measures and the promotion of clean and affordable energy, including renewable energy.

They also called on international partners to:

support, in a co-ordinated way, our endeavours by focusing their assistance on areas that directly and indirectly improve our ability to develop sustainable productive economies.

The need for the Pacific Energy Summit is great. New Zealand and the European Union are seeking to work more closely with all development partners and clean-tech companies to help Pacific island countries meet their energy goals, increase access to modern energy services, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.