As one of the most dispersed regions in the world, the Pacific faces unique challenges in providing affordable and accessible electricity – with a heavy reliance on diesel-fueled generators in many areas to power homes and businesses.
Electricity prices in the region are among the highest in the world, with some countries spending as much as 25% of gross domestic product on fuel imports – leaving household incomes, inflation levels and national finances all highly vulnerable to volatile Asia-Pacific oil markets.
To mitigate this exposure, Pacific governments are increasingly turning to alternative and renewable energy sources, including biofuels, wind, solar and hydro systems. In addition to issues of cost, the shift to renewables may help to address the need for energy which is cleaner and easier to generate in remote areas.
As eyes turn to Paris ahead of COP21, what actions are being taken in the Pacific region to increase the uptake of renewables? Are new technologies worth investing in? And what role do (or should) development partners play?