There are now 36 island partners of the Lighthouses Initiative - Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cape Verde, Cuba, Comoros, Cook Islands, Dominican Republic, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Grenada, Guyana, Kiribati, Republic of Maldives, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Montserrat, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Tuvalu, Vanuatu - and 19 partner organisations - European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Indian Ocean Commission, IRENA, Association of the Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union, UNDP, World Bank, ENEL, Clean Energy Solutions Center, Clinton Climate Initiative, Rocky Mountain Institute - Carbon War Room, SE4ALL - within the Initiative.
All island nations can join the Initiative. Non-island organisations including public, private, intergovernmental, and non-governmental entities actively involved in the field of renewables can also become partners of the Initiative.
Island partners gain access to:
- Policy and regulatory advisory services;
- Technical expertise in planning, identifying, structuring and executing projects;
- Financing for capacity building, policy and regulatory design, early-stage transactions, and project finance;
- A network to share information, knowledge and practices.
The Initiative facilitates coordinated support for islands to transform their predominantly fossil-based power systems to renewable energy through partnerships with public, private, intergovernmental, and non-governmental stakeholder organisations. By 2020, it aims to:
• Ensure all participating islands develop renewable energy roadmaps;
• Mobilise USD 500 million;
• Deploy 120 MW of renewable energy capacity.
The Initiative facilitates energy planning on islands mainly through Quickscans, roadmaps, renewables readiness assessments (RRAs) and grid integration studies:
this is a tool developed to quickly assess the readiness of an island to deploy renewable energy in the power sector. The Quickscan is government-led and supported by analysis from IRENA or other Lighthouses partners. It aims to:
- Provide a comprehensive overview and a government-verified baseline for gap identification;
- Identify critical barriers to renewable energy deployment;
- Identify opportunities for high impact projects in individual islands or groups of islands;
- Facilitate opportunities for stakeholder engagement and buy-in.
The questionnaire covers seven elements critical to a successful transition to renewables: institutional framework; knowledge base; planning; financing; deployment; capacity building and cooperation.
IRENA’s island roadmaps are a country-requested and country-led process involving in-depth analysis and extensive consultation with governments and other important stakeholders to develop a comprehensive plan for renewable energy deployment. A roadmap analysis covers cost-effective renewable energy options and supporting technologies. It outlines key milestones and provides recommendations on policies to support the transition to renewable energy, taking into consideration the national targets, energy security issues, pollution limits, and other country-specific objectives.
The RRA process engages various stakeholders to compile relevant information, establish networks, and strengthen the enabling environment for renewable energy deployment. It brings together key actors to discuss common challenges and jointly devise actions to address them with resources from the international community.
Grid integration studies:
The integration of variable renewable energy resources into existing electrical networks often requires the implementation of additional enabling technologies to ensure the secure and economical operation of the grid and the reliable delivery of electricity to its final users. Since grids on islands are often small and inflexible, these assessments are vital if higher shares of variable levels of renewable energy are to be accommodated without damaging the system’s stability and reliability.
The Initiative supports islands seeking financing for renewable energy projects through the Sustainable Energy Marketplace, a platform that brings public, private and international financing sources, project developers and technology suppliers together to facilitate communication between these entities and to meet funding needs.
The cost of supplying solar photovoltaic power to the grid is becoming increasingly competitive and often competitive with current residential power rates, especially in areas with abundant solar resources.
Wind power is also increasingly becoming the most affordable option for supplying power to new grids.
Hydropower, geothermal power and biomass sources are more mature and have lower cost reduction potential, but they are the most affordable sources of power in some regions.
IRENA estimates that renewable energy employed 9.8 million people in 2016.
Many islands are rich in solar and wind energy resources. Solar photovoltaics and wind power, the two largest sector employers, have more than doubled their employment since 2012, with solar accounting for 3.1 million jobs and wind for 1.2 million jobs in 2016. As renewable energy shares increase in the energy mix, economic growth and trade balances can be boosted.
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