Disconnected from mainland electricity grids, islands are especially vulnerable to price fluctuations for imported fossil fuels. But small island developing states (SIDS) can overcome such challenges, as well as play their part in the global effort to mitigate climate change, through rapid renewable energy development.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) launched its SIDS Lighthouses Initiative at the Climate Summit in New York on 23 September 2014.Through partnerships and focused cooperation, the Lighthouse Initiative aims to mobilise funding and political will to advance renewable energy deployment in island settings around the world.
See the joint statement on the SIDS Lighthouses Initiative at the 2014 Climate Summit
By speeding the uptake of renewable energy on islands around the world, the Lighthouse Initiative will enable SIDS to lead by example on climate change. Maximising the use of indigenous, clean and plentiful renewable energy requires a structured, holistic approach to ensure long-term sustainability. The SIDS Lighthouse process will also capture invaluable lessons for the rest of the world.
IRENA’s initiative offers a framework for small island developing states to move away from piecemeal deployment to a structured, holistic, sustainable approach to renewable, taking medium and long-term needs and impact into account. Moving away from developing projects in isolation, the initiative instead follows a holistic approach that considers all elements, from policy and market frameworks, through technology options, to capacity building. Programmatic steps for accelerated deployment of renewables are defined and opportunities for partnerships highlighted. The Lighthouse Initiative also draws on the work of the Global Renewable Energy Islands Network (GREIN), which helps to identify crucial gaps and areas of interest.