Renewable Energy in the Pacific Islands: its role and status

Image of Solar Energy Installation, Nukunonu Island, Tokelau

Date & time

4–5pm 25 May 2017


Room 2
Forestry Building
Fenner School of Environment and Society
48 Linnaeus Way (Building 48)
The Australian National University


Dr Tony Weir, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University


 Hannah Barrowman

The small island developing states of the Pacific suffer from both the high cost of fossil fuel imports and from numerous climate-related disasters.  These vulnerabilities will worsen unless there is a substantial global shift away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy (RE) sources, coupled with significant improvements in energy efficiency.  Apart from traditional biomass-fuelled cooking, the only substantial uses of RE in the Pacific currently are hydropower in some of the hillier island countries and the thousands of household photovoltaic (PV) systems in the remoter parts of island countries.  Grid PV, geothermal, and biofuels all have good technical potential in at least some islands.  Barriers to wider use of RE in the region are mostly institutional and financial, but also include opportunity costs, environmental factors, and the limited skills base in small island states.   There has been mixed progress since the 1990s towards overcoming these barriers.  The Fiji Electricity Authority has a reasonably realistic plan to have 81% of its supply from RE by 2020, drawing on hydropower (~50% now), biomass (including bagasse), and some solar and wind. Tonga has its Renewable Energy Roadmap with clear milestones.  Several other Pacific Island countries have ambitious RE targets but some are rather vague about how they are to be achieved.

Updated:  25 May 2019/Responsible Officer:  Director, Energy Change Institute/Page Contact:  Webmaster