The Solomon Islands Government through the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification (MMERE) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) launched the Solomon Islands Renewable Readiness Assessment (RRA) Report in Honiara today.
The renewable readiness assessment was undertaken by the IRENA through its Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Lighthouses Initiative (LHI) to recommend strategies that would expedite efforts toward an energy transition, emphasizing the promotion of various renewable energy (RE) sources coupled with energy efficiency interventions.
According to the IRENA data, the goal was for 73% of the Solomon Islands’ population to have access to electricity by 2020, with a further ambition to achieve universal electricity access for its population by 2050.
Enhancing energy access is expected to significantly enhance the quality of life for the people of the Solomon Islands, fostering socio-economic benefits including employment opportunities, income generation, improved access to healthcare, education, food, water security (including fisheries), and the expansion of the nation’s tourism sector.
Furthermore, in their updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted to the UNFCCC in 2021, the Solomon Islands Government aimed to bolster energy security and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions by amplifying the utilization of renewable energy technologies.
Speaking at the launch, Deputy Secretary Daniel Rove said Solomon Islands with high dependency on imported fossil fuel and high energy costs has prioritized transformation of its energy sector as reflected in the Solomon Islands National Energy Policy and its subsequent reviews.
“The main policy direction focuses on transformation of the Energy Sector to enhance our sustainable economic development and thus meet our international obligations to conform to international climate change, environmental and sustainable development treaties. In order for Solomon Islands to achieve these commitments, assistance must be sought in terms of technologies and finance,” Rove said.
The implementation of the RRA Action Plan will be actioned with guidance by the Solomon Island Government on key priorities that the RRA process identified for further investment and commitment. The implementation process will adopt a clear structure, procedural measures to ensure efforts are coordinated, and resource deployment are efficiently delivered.
The RRA implementation structure will follow the existing national coordination mechanism where the leadership and coordination functions is taken care of by the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification (MMERE), which will collaborate with key government agencies, mainly the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Ministry of Environment and Solomon Power.
This core Group will report to the Energy Advisory Committee (EAC) on progress and direction and recommend appropriate monitoring tools for the project. It will also ensure that updates on progress are communicated to the industry and the public
External support and technical advisory group consisting of current active development partners, mainly IRENA, ADB, World Bank and JICA will be part of the implementation process where they will inform and advice on financing and technical assistance options that may be available to the RRA implementation.
The Assessment outlines seven priority areas, including restructuring the electricity grid, setting technical standards for resilient off-grid renewable energy, creating innovative funding mechanisms, developing markets for electric mobility, coordinating renewable energy implementation in key sectors, promoting energy efficiency, and fostering partnerships for innovative solutions.
Following the launch, IRENA and MMERE will further conduct a capacity building workshop on Wednesday 7th – Thursday 8th February 2024 on the Honiara SolarCity Simulator on assessing rooftop solar PV potential on a local scales, evaluate the impact of different policy interventions (such as tariff, subsidies, tax credit) on the rooftop solar PV market and the social and environmental benefits of installations.
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