2nd Training Programme to Support Renewable Energy Deployment in Asia-Pacific Island Nations

Islands have been highly dependent on fossil fuel imports and unstable energy supplies for some time, and as they transition to renewable energy, the need for more effective coordination of these efforts becomes increasingly more urgent. This was a major outcome of the 2nd Training Programme to Support Renewable Energy Deployment in Asia-Pacific Island Nations, jointly organized by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment and IRENA, and held from 6 to 10 of February 2017 in Tokyo, Kobe, and Awaji Island.

The training programme set out to answer a series of questions related specifically to the energy transition on islands, including: Which stakeholders should be included in the coordination of the energy transition? What should their levels of involvement be? What are the roles of each stakeholder and how will each contribute to meeting national renewable energy targets? How can they be best integrated into the transition?

In the case of the Pacific region, the Cook Islands and Samoa have made significant efforts towards ensuring a well-coordinated energy transition on their islands while considering these issues:

  • In the Cook Islands, the implementation of renewable energy projects is overseen by a Project Steering Group (PSG), that was set up under the direction of the Cook Islands Government, its development partners and Project Engineers, to support the effective delivery of renewable energy projects. The group provides governance, leadership, and direction to the Project Management Unit (PMU) and their delivery teams for specific projects. The PSG consists of up to four representatives of the Cook Islands Government, and representatives of the New Zealand Government and the Asian Development Bank. Individual projects, or groups of projects, are managed by the Project Management Units, with direct lines of communication with the PSG. The PMUs manage the construction and day to day implementation of projects.
  • In Samoa, the energy transition steering committee — called the National Energy Coordinating Committee — was established to review, assess, and approve all energy proposals for implementation. It was set up in 2011 with Samoa’s Ministry of Finance acting as its secretariat, the Committee has clear terms of reference and engages over 40 stakeholders.

Workshop participants had the opportunity to visit Awaji Island in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture. The island aims to fully power its electricity sector with renewable energy by 2050. Located to the south-west of Kobe and Osaka city, the sites of several renewable energy projects, the island is already close to sourcing 30% of its electricity from ground-mounted and floating solar, and wind sources. In addition to its goal of sustainable energy, the Awaji Island’s Green Future Project is centred around a comprehensive approach to provide sustainable food supplies and lifestyles for its approximately 134,000 residents.