Fiji Developing Its Renewable Potential

The population of the Republic of Fiji is approximately 0.90 million people[1]. In 2018, 99.6% of the people in this island country in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean had access to electricity[2].

In 2018, Fiji’s economy was ranked 155th in gross domestic product (GDP) in the world[3]. The country’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism, agriculture, and exports of sugar, coconuts, and ginger.

In 2016, Fiji signed the Paris Climate Agreement[4], committing to an unconditional reduction in greenhouse gas emission of 10% by 2030, compared to business-as-usual. Fiji also committed to use 100% renewable energy to generate electricity by 2030.

In 2018, the state-owned electric company, Energy Fiji Ltd used renewable energy (55%) and oil (45%) to generate electricity across the island nation[5]. Hydropower and biomass are the primary source of renewable energy in Fiji.

Fijian prime minister Frank Bainimarama has been a passionate advocate of his nation’s climate change plight on the global stage. Recent renewable energy developments in Fiji include:

  • 15 MW Solar – The Fijian government has received funding from the International Finance Corporation to develop a solar project that could supply power to 14,000 households. Energy Fiji Ltd is actively seeking companies to develop the solar project.
  • Hydropower Project – Energy Fiji Ltd is moving forward with plans with the Qaliwana and Upper Wailoa hydroelectric project on the country’s largest island, Viti Levu. The state-owned electric company is now moving ahead with the design work for the hydropower project.

Fiji has significant hydroelectric, solar, and geothermal energy potential, which could provide power to the entire country. The Fijian government is prudently developing the nation’s renewable energy resources, which allows them to reduce the use of expensive, imported oil.

Fiji consists of more than 300 islands and over 540 islets covering an area of approximately 1,000,000 mi2. Approximately 100 of the islands are inhabited and over 80% of the country’s population live on the two largest islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Leva. Island nations, like Fiji are most susceptible to global warming and the steady rise in sea level.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

[1] Fiji Population (2020) –  October 28, 2020 www.worldometers.info

[2] World Bank, “Access To Electricity (% Population) – Fiji

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[5] The World Bank, International Finance Commission (IFC) – Fiji

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