Solomon Islands
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Minister Tovosia says 13th IRENA Assembly Supports SI’s Call for Investments on Renewable Energy for Climate Action

The 13th International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly has provided Solomon Islands the platform to call for more support towards its investments on renewable energy for Climate Action. 

A delegation led by the Minister for Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, Hon. Bradley Tovosia attended the assembly, which was held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from the 13th to the 15th of January 2023.

Hon. Bradley Tovosia delivering the country’s statement at the IRENA Assembly

Among the topics discussed during the assembly was the ‘SIDS Ministerial – Climate Pledges to Action: Amplifying Energy Transition for Sustainable Development in SIDS.’ 

Delivering the country’s statement on the issue, Minister Tovosia emphasized on how investment in renewable energy could lead to achieving the country’s Sustainable Development Goals (SGD).

“For Solomon Islands, investing in Renewable Energy would contribute significantly to achieving our Sustainable Development Goals as well as meeting our National Determined Contribution (NDC). SDG 7 is Affordable and clean energy and by developing and investing in geothermal energy as an alternative source of renewable energy, it is critical for us to meet the SDG 7.”

“Solomon Islands has the highest cost of electricity in the region or within the SIDS. This is largely due to high tariff and the scatteredness of the islands which makes it very challenging. Therefore, this hinders our efforts and progress to meet SDGs. Noting, SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure) relates to SDG 7. Without affordable and clean energy, this will be challenging for us to meet the SDGs by 2030 target, “he said.

One of the principal energy policy considerations detailed in the Solomon Islands National Energy Policy Framework is ‘the provision of adequate, secure, and cost-effective energy supplies through the promotion of indigenous energy resources, specifically renewable energy resources using the least cost options, and to diversify the energy dependence among several types of sources and suppliers.’

As a signatory to the SDG, Solomon Islands has shown its commitment in achieving SDG 7 by developing frameworks such as the Solomon Islands Renewable Energy Roadmap which was launched last year.

The roadmap provides the technical pathway and implementation framework to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030 and is expected to involve major reforms in the country’s energy sector. It is also an important plan to improve how the country manages its electricity sector and to utilize its indigenous renewable energy resources to convert the country’s electricity grid to 100% renewable energy by year 2030. 

However, lack of resources has always been a constraint on committing towards renewable energy in the country.

Hon. Tovosia also highlighted that if attention is to be given towards renewable energy investments in the country, SDG 13 can also be achieved.

“With regard to the challenges, for Solomon Islands, as a SIDS, we lack the technology, and resources as well as the know-how to develop Renewable energy plants or projects. In addition, being a SIDS, our geographical setting and scatteredness add to the hindrances. Therefore, for us, what we need is strategic support through such platforms like this to help us address our challenges.”

“On NDC, SDG 13 calls for climate action. Supporting Renewable energy as a solution for SIDS is critical. We need support from developed countries to help us to implement our climate actions. This would help us to contribute towards meeting our NDCs.”

The Governments acknowledgements on the 2014 Samoa Pathway which calls for accelerated efforts by developed countries and development partners to support SIDS in sustainable energy, and the 2012 Barbados Declaration on Achieving Sustainable Energy for All in Small Island Developing States was also relayed to the assembly. 

Minister Tovosia also states that although the region has the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy where support for renewable energy comes under climate change, varying development pathways for respective island states must be understood to better implement climate actions through renewable energy.

“As SIDS, though we share similar issues and challenges, our development pathways differ. Some are progressing well and in advance whereas others are still in need of support. Therefore, we need to understand the different context and challenges SIDS face.

For example, for Solomon Islands, we need support for the development of and proper implementation of our National Energy policy that includes support for investment in the various Renewable Energy alternative sources, example would be geothermal power plants,” he said.

For Solomon Islands, the first known exploration and feasibility assessment for a potential geothermal project in the country was done by an Australian geothermal company, Geodynamics on Savo Island in 2013.

From the assessment, it was confirmed that Savo Island was viable and could be a potential Geothermal power plant.

Contributing to the Global Geothermal Alliance Annual Meeting which was held on the margins of the IRENA Assembly, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Mines Dr. Chris Vehe suggested to the alliance if strategic support can be provided for small developing states with lack of resources to push towards geothermal energy.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines Dr Chris Vehe speaking at the Global Geothermal Alliance Meeting

The suggestion was done with prior acknowledgement that geothermal energy represents an abundant, competitive, and predictable renewable energy source for power generation, and heating and cooling applications which can contribute to the energy transition for the achievement of climate goals and sustainable development.

“For us least developed countries, we are calculating our cards on trying to develop and at the same time living to the expectation of the COP 27 or the Paris Agreement. If we can be more strategic in assigning or identifying groups that can assist us in the Pacific, like IRENA you work with New Zealand, then we will work with New Zealand on that, or you could fund Iceland to come and work with us. 

These are the kind of strategies I am thinking of. Because to be honest, we are even struggling to develop our geothermal policies, we are trying to make geothermal legislation, so we need strategic support,” Mr Vehe said.

The country with its partners has developed projects on renewable energy development which includes the 15MW Tina Hydro power plant project, Photovoltaic solar system projects developed across the country, Mini hydro schemes commissioned and Exploration of geothermal energy potential in the country.


By Eliza Kukutu