The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announced in January of 2017 the UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund — a $50 million program that supports the development of renewable energy in 16 Caribbean countries. It is modeled on another $50 million investment vehicle created in 2013 known as the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund.
To date, the UAE-PPF has supported the installation of 2.8 megawatts of renewable energy and eliminated the consumption of more than 3 million liters of diesel fuel. That, in turn, has saved the nations involved nearly $4 million a year in fuel costs and kept roughly 8,500 tons of carbon dioxide out of the air over the island nations.
Now ADFD has announced it has begun a 2 year program to train more people in the Pacific how to utilize renewable energy. The training program was developed by Masdar Corporation in cooperation with the University of the South Pacific in Fiji and two renewable energy consulting companies — New Zealand’s Elemental Power and Renewables in New Zealand and ITP Renewables in Australia. Participating nations include Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Kiribati, Nauru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
The first workshop took place in Suva, Fiji, in late October with 25 representatives from the 11 Pacific Island nations in attendance. A second session for government leaders and senior executives will take place in Abu Dhabi in January prior to the annual International Renewable Energy Agency’s general assembly. A final session scheduled for October 2018 will be specifically designed for the project and technical managers responsible for utility operations and renewable energy planning in their respective countries.
Ali Al Shafar, the UAE’s permanent representative to IRENA, tells Trade Arabia: “The UAE-PPF has concretely demonstrated that renewables offer immediate cost savings and can integrate seamlessly with existing power systems at much higher rates than previously estimated. The new training program leverages both regional and international expertise to keep the momentum up on planning and executing transformative projects that support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate agreement.”
Khaled Ballaith, director of special projects for Masdar, tells the press: “Based on tangible project experience in the Pacific, the new training program aims to share lessons and to provide delegates from the island nations with more knowledge and insight. It is important that those involved in the projects on a day-to-day basis are empowered to deploy and capitalize on the renewable energy sources available in their countries.”
The efforts made by Abu Dhabi to help those most affected by climate change make the transition to renewable energy stand in stark contrast to the unmitigated disaster that is still ongoing in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Three months after Hurricane Maria, the majority of people living in those areas are still without access to electrical power. The US government has offered little other than platitudes and plans to rebuild the utility grids exactly as they were before the storm hit.
The federal government has no interest, apparently, in promoting renewable energy for its island possession. If diesel generators were good enough in the days of the Truman administration, they’re fine for today. That’s how to make America great again. Yessiree.
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