Thursday, 19 January 2012 11:47 PM

US$4 million for Nauru Solar Energy and Desalination Plant

Nauru will access US$4million from the Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund to install a solar power generation system and sea water desalination plant.

The project is expected to save Nauru 60 tonnes of diesel per year, contributing to 1.3% of the current energy demand on the small Pacific island nation. Approximately 99% of Nauru's main energy supply is currently generated from fossil fuels.

The Government of Nauru has targeted 50% of their energy supply to come from renewable energy sources by 2015. The PEC Fund will contribute to this national objective.

The project is also expected to provide an additional source of water supply which will reduce desalinated water delivery time to Nauru households from every four weeks to three weeks.

Desalination is the main source of potable water for the people of Nauru.

"The electricity generated by the solar power generation system will power the desalination plant, and surplus electricity that is produced will be provided directly to Nauru's national grid," explained Honourable Rykers Solomon, Minister of Commerce Industry and Environment.

"On behalf of the Government of Nauru, I would like to thank the Government of Japan and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat for assistance with facilitating this very important project for our nation and people."

The project will be initially managed by Hitachi Plant Technologies, with the Nauru Utilities Corporation and Department of Commerce, Industry and Environment involved substantially in its implementation. The Nauru Utilities Corporation will eventually take over full management of the solar power generation system and sea water desalination plant.

The PEC Fund is a commitment by the Government of Japan of ¥6.8 billion (approx US$66 million) to support Forum Island Country (FIC) projects with a focus on the provision of solar power generation systems and sea water desalination plants, or a combination of both.

To date, Samoa, Tuvalu, Cook Islands and Nauru have accessed the fund for renewable energy projects, with another successful proposal to be announced soon.

The PEC Fund is administered and managed by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, guided by a Joint Committee (JC), chaired by the Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat. The JC comprises senior representatives of the Japanese Government and the Forum Secretariat. A Technical Advisory Group (TAG) comprising nominated experts in the fields of climate change, renewable energy, water and sanitation has been set up to appraise project proposals and make recommendations to the JC.