ADB Investing Over US$1B to Help Pacific’s Renewable Energy Transition

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will invest over US$1 billion worth of energy projects in the Pacific from 2019 to 2021 - Photo by ADB

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStoriess) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will invest over US$1 billion worth of energy projects in the Pacific from 2019 to 2021, said the lender today (18/12). The intention to increase renewable energy generation and improve access to affordable and sustainable electricity in the subregion.

“Between 2007 and 2018, ADB-financed projects in the Pacific installed 62 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy generation capacity, constructed or refurbished 1,600 kilometers of power lines, and connected 10,000 households to electricity grids,” said ADB Pacific Department Energy Division Director Olly Norojono.

He adds, during 2019 to 2021, the Fund helped to install new sources of renewable power, improve supply-side efficiency, and integrate battery storage.

In Papua New Guinea, the power sector development project—ADB’ biggest energy project in the Pacific—will expand the transmission and distribution network to increase the national electrification rate from 12 percent to 19 percent by 2028. Other ADB financing is extending Port Moresby’ power grid, constructing or refurbishing hydropower plants, and increasing operators’ abilities to manage and maintain power facilities.

In Solomon Islands, the 15MW Tina River Hydropower Project represents a paradigm shift in power generation. Its projected to meet 68 percent of the country’ needs while reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 49,500 tons per year—more than twice what the government has committed to.

In Samoa, ADB financing has helped rehabilitate and increase the output of hydropower facilities damaged in 2012’ cyclone evan, as well as build a new dam that will prevent flooding, secure water supplies, and generate power. ADB is also facilitating private sector investment to expand a local solar plant.

The lender has also financed the restoration and improved storm resilience of Tonga’ electricity network following damage from two cyclones. The Outer Island Renewable Energy Project, meanwhile, is helping Tonga achieve 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030 by establishing new solar power systems on the country’s eight outer islands.

Similarly, ADB financing in the Cook Islands is helping install battery-supported solar generation systems on five islands, reducing the use of diesel power and helping the country pursue its goal of 100% renewable energy generation.

Regionally, said the agency, the Pacific Renewable Energy Investment Facility is enabling the rapid provision of funding for a large volume of small-scale energy projects in the smallest 11 Pacific island countries.

One of the 20 projects the facility is supporting is the Tonga Renewable Energy Project, with $12 million contributing to batteries, grid improvements, and new solar farms to increase electricity access for outer-island communities.

The facility is also overseeing energy sector reforms, preparing further investment channels, promoting private sector engagement, and sharing best practices and lessons. Another regional project is working to make renewable energy projects bankable for the private sector.

By offsetting risks associated with renewables investment in the Pacific, providing loans and letters of credit, and assisting with transactions, the project is enabling increased private sector participation in Pacific energy production.

ADB is currently supporting 14 active energy projects in 10 countries in the Pacific worth $371 million. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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