The Minister for Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, Bradley Tovosia is encouraging development partners to support the country’s energy sector to fund studies in other renewable energy sources like geothermal, biomass, wind and additional hydropower resources.
Minister Tovosia made the remarks during last week’s launching of the country’s Renewable Energy Roadmap which was attended by energy stakeholders and development partners in Honiara.
The current roadmap which is compiled by the Ministry with support from Solomon Power and funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) places more emphasis on hydro power and solar development with the aim to reduce the use of diesel power to generate electricity.
The renewable energy roadmap (RERM) aims to convert the Honiara electricity grid to 100 percent renewable energy by year 2030. Honiara is the largest electricity grid and demand load center in the country that subsidizes the cost of delivering electricity to provincial and other growth centers.
The present renewable energy contribution into the Honiara grid is only around 1percent while the rest of the energy supply is from diesel fired generators.
“Our dependency on imported fuel has so much negative implications on our socio-economic development. Our high electricity tariff considered as the highest in the world provides unattractive business environment leading to high unemployment and high cost of living,” Tovosia said.
“I urge development partners, interested developers and multilateral financiers to support feasibility studies and development of other indigenous renewable energy sources like geothermal, biomass and additional hydropower resources to increase the renewable energy combination in the country and minimize envisaged technical challenges like availability of spinning reserves and limitations of required land space in the case of solar,” he added.
The roadmap recommends major reform in the energy that would involve changes in the present legal, regulatory, institutional, financial and management framework which requires capacity building that development partners can render assistance.
Tovosia commended the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) for responding positively to the Solomon Islands Government’s request for the development of this new roadmap while at the same time applauded the Board and Management of Solomon Power, respective government ministries and the Tokyo Electric Power Services Company Ltd (TEPSCO) and Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting LLC (DTC) for their technical and professional work in developing the RERM.