Naturally Energizing the Pacific Islands: Solar Power in Vanuatu

In the Pacific Islands, and particularly in Melanesia, access to modern energy services is limited. Several Pacific Island countries are trying to bridge the gap of access by tapping into renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydro. There is growing concern that this shift to exploitation of their indigenous energy sources will result in significant impacts on biodiversity as well as on the livelihoods of people. Using low carbon, clean and efficient power sources remains a challenge for many island communities primarily due to geographical isolation and high start-up costs. A component of IUCN’s energy programme in Oceania looks at upgrading existing solar power systems and installing new ones in schools and health clinics on the islands of Santo and Malo in Vanuatu. Solar power for lighting purposes is a cheaper and more reliable option for remote villages as compared to diesel power generators. The project in Vanuatu also looks at small scale hydro and wind power generation. More information can be found at www.iucn.org/oceania

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