19 Jun 2013

Nauru, Niue and Tuvalu to lead over fossil fuel reduction

5:35 pm on 19 June 2013

The three smallest economies in the Pacific are being targetted to lead the rest of the region in reducing the dependence on fossil fuel.

The Low Carbon Energy Islands project is encouraging Nauru, Niue and Tuvalu, which depend heavily on fossil fuels, to move towards using renewable energy resources available in their countries.

The project is being run by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Its regional energy programme co-ordinator, Anare Matakiviti, spoke with Leilani Momoisea about what the project is setting out to achieve.

ANARE MATAKIVITI: They're targetting, one - to reduce their dependance on fossil fuel. And, secondly, to take the lead in the region to set the example of being climate-friendly islands and reducing their greenhouse emissions, though their emissions are negligible. But they'd like to be at the forefront of showing the big countries that they're taking positive action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.

LEILANI MOMOISEA: And this is talking about encouraging households in Nauru, Niue and Tuvalu to be active participants in the energy market, so this is really putting the focus on families to make the right choices.

AM: That's right. One of the challenges or, probably, the benefits of this project is to look at how the households can play a role in generating their own electricity or play a role in the development of the market for renewable energy and energy efficiency. One of the ideas that they're looking at is for households to generate electricity from renewable energy. They can buy systems and put it on the rooftop and have a sort of agreement with the local power utility. Should there be any surplus it goes back to the grid and they can get some kind of return for selling power again, for saving power into the utility grid. One of the biggest challenges of this project is that these are the three smallest economies in the region and developing a market in small economies like this is a real challenge. We're working with the countries and discussing with them how best we can move this project forward. So I think it'll be a big demonstration to the big countries in the region that, okay, this project is successful in these three small economies. It's a learning thing that can give to the rest of the Pacific Island countries.