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To stay below a maximum 1.5/2°C global average temperature rise, doubling the share of renewable energy by 2030 is essential. Renewable energies such as solar, wind and geothermal are getting progressively cheaper and more effective, and have the most impact when coupled with measure to boost energy efficiency. Photo © Para/CC

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Website: SIDS Lighthouses Initiative
Contact:
akallhauge@irena.org, epress@irena.org

Small island developing states (SIDS) have the will and now a clearer way to a future powered by renewable energy thanks to the SIDS Lighthouses Initiative.

The initiative, part of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, was launched by the International Renewable Energy Agency in September 2014 to mobilize funding and political will to spur rapid deployment of renewable energy on small islands.

The goal is a sustainable energy transformation for people on the front line of climate change on small islands around the world, enhancing their energy independence and economic prosperity. The targets, by 2020, include:

  • Mobilize USD 500 million
  • Deploy 100 MW of new solar photo voltaic capacity
  • Deploy 20 MW of new wind power
  • Deploy significant quantities of other renewable energy technologies
  • Ensure all participating SIDS develop renewable energy roadmaps.

It is possible for SIDS to transition rapidly to renewable energy because of the favorable economic conditions for renewable energy in an island environment. Apart from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the transition will bring a host of benefits, such as energy security, reduced local air pollution and an enhanced trade balance due to reduced reliance on fossil fuel.

At their summit in Samoa in September 2014, SIDS issued a joint declaration calling for accelerated uptake of renewables as part of a sustainable development agenda. Renewable energy deployment on islands is accelerating, but the rate of deployment varies widely. Launched in Point-à-pitre in June 2015 the “Martinique Action Plan” aims to promote cooperative actions and projects facilitating renewable deployement.

Barriers to renewables deployment in SIDS include small project size, limited access to financing and lack of capacity. Following a structured, holistic planning approach, promoted by the Lighthouses Initiative, can help overcome these barriers.

Islands can serve as lighthouses for a global energy transition, allowing testing of innovative solutions on a small scale in a demanding environment. The lessons learned can be applied in other much larger power systems.

Photo credit: Tobze (Flickr)

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