Leaders of small island developing states met at the end of September on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly to launch a new initiative focused on accelerating the energy transformation in these states, strengthening climate resilience, and boosting sustainable development goals.
Heads of state from small island developing states, known as SIDS, met on September 28 to launch the SIDS Lighthouse 2.0, an initiative designed to essentially accelerate the energy transformation through renewable energy technologies of the most at-risk regions in the world.
The SIDS Lighthouse Initiative (LHI) was launched in 2014 at the UN Climate Summit to support small island developing states located in the Pacific Islands, Caribbean Islands, and those in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean and South China Seas. These states are not only legitimately classified as “developing” but are also states most likely to be most quickly affected by climate change. This combination requires new approaches to support, which led to the creation of the SIDS Lighthouse Initiative.
The SIDS Lighthouse 2.0 builds on that framework, seeking to accelerate energy transformation in SIDS, strengthening climate resilience, and contributing to the achievement of their sustainable development goals (SDGs). The Initiative aims to move away from developing projects in isolation, and move towards a holistic approach that considers a variety of relevant elements, from policy and market frameworks all the way through to technology options and capacity building.
So far the LHI, coordinated by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), has already supported a rapid growth of renewable energy among 35 SIDS members and contributed to the growth of 250 megawatts (MW) worth of solar PV and over 50 MW worth of wind energy capacity between 2014 and 2017, and over $500 million in renewable energy investment mobilized.
By 2020, the Initiative aims to:
- Mobilize USD 500 million for the island energy transformation
- Deploy 100 megawatts (MW) of new solar photovoltaic (PV) power capacity
- Deploy 20 MW of new wind power
- Deploy significant quantities of small hydropower and geothermal energy, along with getting several ocean energy projects underway
- Ensure all participating SIDS develop renewable energy roadmaps
“Small island developing states are on the frontlines of climate change, and they are also at the forefront of global energy transformation,” explained Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General. “SIDS governments have demonstrated tremendous leadership in harnessing their renewable energy potential, and the LHI was created to help them reap the benefits of a renewable energy transformation. The SIDS LHI achieved its 2020 targets three years ahead of schedule, creating a tremendous momentum for the SIDS Lighthouses Initiative 2.0 to now take even further.”
“Global temperatures continue to rise, and hurricanes and drought continue to threaten our livelihoods,” added Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. “It is for this reason why we remain committed to the SIDS Lighthouses Initiative 2.0 and tackling climate change through rapid deployment of resilient renewable energy.”