Energy data and effective renewable energy policy-making needed to fulfil renewable energy targets

Friday 15 August 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji. The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), in partnership with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), is conducting a week-long training workshop  on–Energy Data and Policy Mechanisms to Support Implementation of Renewable Energy Targets–at its Suva Regional office in Fiji.

In 2013, the Pacific leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a sustainable future through the adoption of national renewable energy and energy efficiency targets as outlined in the Majuro Declaration on Climate Leadership.

While these commitments are encouraging, for countries to succeed in achieving them, much rests on collaborative efforts made today. Achieving renewable energy targets, for instance, requires immense capital and resources: a challenge to most of the Pacific Islands.  Access to up-to-date, accurate and appropriate data is also of critical importance.

The training is timely in overcoming the constraints Pacific Island governments face in achieving renewable energy targets, says SPC’s Economic Development Division Director, John Hogan.

‘This training is very important for the region for two reasons,’ added Mr Hogan. ‘Firstly it is a direct response to Pacific leaders’ decision to pursue renewable energy targets through the development of a comprehensive approach to data collection.  Secondly, it provides an opportunity for countries to discuss on the constraints inhibiting the achievement of these targets.’

The growth of renewable energy is not accurately captured in energy statistics and even when multiple data sources exist, there are often significant problems relating to quality, consistency and comparability of data sources.  Efforts to address  these issues will contribute to establishing the Pacific Regional Data Repository (PRDR), which will  assist countries to formulate national policies to support the implementation of their renewable energy targets.

‘The energy needs and opportunities in the Pacific region, coupled with the political will of its leadership, made the Pacific Islands an early programmatic priority for IRENA,’ said Ms Gauri Singh, Director of Country Support and Partnerships, IRENA. ‘Although the Pacific islands require targeted assistance, many share similar challenges. We hope that this training workshop will facilitate knowledge sharing and interaction with experts, and amongst the Pacific Island states, in response to some of those needs.’

The training workshop is bringing together stakeholders from member countries of both SPC and IRENA, including representatives from energy departments, power utilities and regulatory authorities. The participants are expected to gain confidence in using the PRDR, in addition to understanding the processes involved in defining, collecting and disseminating energy data to feed into the PRDR and also serve their national objectives.

Based on priority areas of support requested by the member countries, relevant policy mechanisms for small islands that contribute to fulfilling the renewable energy target will be discussed. This includes best practice to design net metering and feed-in tariff schemes in addition to discussing options for utility-led models for renewable energy project development. Participants will also be introduced to best practice and key requirements for bankable power purchase agreements.

The PRDR for the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative will be launched at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Samoa next month.

Sustainable energy is one of six plenary meetings scheduled to take place at the SIDS conference. Sustainable energy is also part of the multi-stakeholder partnership dialogue which will run in parallel with the plenary meetings.


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