Pacific Resource Infrastructure Facility (PRIF)

Established in 2008 to provide technical assistance, research and knowledge products on key infrastructure issues to Pacific island countries

and as a coordination facility for the principal development partners in the region.

Potential for Renewable Energy to Promote Sustainable Development in Pacific Island Countries

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Access to energy services has been identified as a necessary prerequisite for sustainable development, since it can lead to improvements in household health, education and income levels. Pacific island countries face a particularly difficult challenge in expanding rural electrification. As a result of their unique geographical characteristics, where long distances separate sparsely populated areas, and markets are too small to achieve cost savings through economies of scale in electricity production, the cost of supplying electricity to rural areas is very high. Although most Pacific island countries are almost completely dependent on imported fossil fuels for meeting their energy needs, there is a large potential for renewable energy resources to supply electricity to rural households. In order to assess the cost-effectiveness of using renewable energy technologies to supply electricity to households in rural locations in Pacific island countries, three renewable energy projects from across the region were selected as case studies. The case studies were chosen in order to reflect as wide a range of renewable technologies as possible in a variety of different Pacific island settings. These include O’ua Island, which is part of the Ha’apai Solar Electrification Project in Tonga; the Welagi and Vanua Balavu Coconut Biofuel Projects in Fiji; and the Bulelavata Micro-Hydroelectric Project in the Solomon Islands.