SIDS energy transition progress towards a 1.5°C goal
Island states are most vulnerable to climate change; geopolitical events and other global crises such as the COVID 19 pandemic threatening their economies and livelihoods.
In spite of these challenges, SIDS continue to accelerate the uptake of renewables to mitigate future impacts and adapt to global uncertainties.
Over the years, SIDS and development partners continue to strengthen their strategic engagements and partnerships in mapping the way forward to simultaneously accelerate the energy transition and boost economic recovery in pursue of socio-economic development, energy security and independence.
SIDS renewable capacity keeps growing amid climate and economic crises
According to IRENA data, new installations in SIDS in 2020 included 180 MW of solar photovoltaics (PVs) and 110 MW of bioenergy growing the total installed capacity to 5.9 GW.
Growth in other renewable sources, including hydropower, wind and geothermal, was stagnant, reflecting a dearth in new capacity additions during the pandemic.
Currently, the SIDS account for almost 7 GW of installed capacity.
Solar and wind power offer economic, sustainable electricity for SIDS
Cost reductions for solar PV and onshore wind have made renewables an attractive, sustainable and economic solution in SIDS.
In SIDS, onshore wind installed cost reductions have mirrored global developments. It is essential to ensure site selection quality during project development processes. For solar PV, larger projects may result in lower logisitical costs and savings.
RE costs remain high in SIDS owing to project development costs. In addition, small RE projects including storage in remote SIDS are still cheaper compared to alternative fossil based solutions.
SIDS continue to show ambitious commitments in their climate pledges
Despite the recent setbacks, the political commitment to renewables among SIDS remains unwavering as reflected in the new and revised NDCs.
Around 29 SIDS have submitted new, updated or second NDCs since September 2020, of which 18 have submitted stronger pledges. Overall, of the 40 SIDS that have submitted an NDC to date, 32 have a quantifiable renewable energy target.
The pledges can only be realised with international cooperation
SIDS have articulated ambitious commitments in their NDCs, national policies and action plans but require additional resources and capacity to fulfill their pledges.
More than half of the renewable energy targets in SIDS NDCs are conditional to international support in the form of appropriate financing, technical assistance, tailor made technology transfer, capacity building and other innovative solutions that are fit for purpose.
The international community must play an instrumental role in scaling up renewable energy in SIDS.
SIDS have expanded focus beyond power generation to include other end-use sectors
The SIDS with quantifiable renewable energy targets in their NDCs have focused on:
- the power sector
- as a percentage of the whole energy mix.
100% renewable commitments by many SIDS demonstrate leadership on the pathway to 1.5°C
Many of the SIDS have committed to 100% renewables in their electricity mix by or before 2030 and integrated net zero emission strategies.
This demonstrates their high-level leadership and commitment to accelerate the ability to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and foster climate resilient and low carbon pathways towards a 1.5°C world.
Reaching the renewable capacity commitment is possible with international support
IRENA’s NDC analysis shows that SIDS collective commitments in the power sector amount to 11.5 GW of renewable energy installed capacity by 2030 which comprised unconditional targets totaling 5.5 GW and conditional targets equivalent to 6 GW.
Compared to the first round, SIDS have shown their strong commitment and ownership by increasing their climate ambition by 69% that is largely due to the increase in their unconditional targets.
The conditional targets rely on international support in the form of financing, technical assistance, technology transfer, capacity building which must be appropriate and tailored to SIDS special circumstances and needs.
Small Islands are Big Influencers
SIDS are bold and resolute nations that through their actions are laying down a blueprint for others to follow.
From rapid renewables deployment in the last decade to ambitious climate commitments are defined renewable targets, small island developing states are big influencers on the climate and energy stage.
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