Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare today has launched the Solomon Islands Renewable Energy Roadmap – announcing major reforms in the energy sector in the areas of policy, legislation, regulation, institutional, financial and management arrangements.
The new Roadmap provides the technical pathway and implementation framework to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030 and would involve a major reform in the energy sector to create an enabling environment for participation of independent power producers (IPPs) to achieve the target.
These reforms will see the removal of the regulatory role away from Solomon Power to an independent regulatory body, opening up the electricity industry to interested independent power producers specifically in the generation component, amending the Electricity Act and developing a new electricity sectoral Bill/Act to transform the sector in the long term.
The new renewable energy roadmap is an important plan to reform how the country manages its electricity sector and to harness its indigenous renewable energy resources with the aim to convert the Honiara electricity grid to 100% renewable energy by year 2030.
“It is time to change the conventional ways we manage and deliver our electricity services to transform our economy. We need innovation and flexibility to develop new business models to decarbonize our electricity sector and reduce our dependency on fossil fuel to deliver a sustainable and affordable energy and therefore meet our climate commitments and SDG Goal 7,” Sogavare said.
The Prime Minster acknowledged the overwhelming difficulties faced in the energy sector which contributed negatively to the country’s socio-economic development – saying the country’s high electricity tariff makes the cost of running businesses and the general household livelihoods more expensive.
“This reprehensible situation is anticipated to deteriorate further in light of the transcending global high energy costs caused by the Ukraine-Russia conflict against the backdrop of covid-19 restrictions on its disruption to the fuel supply chain during the global pandemic period,” Sogavare said.
The country’s dependency on imported fossil fuel and the way authorities manage the country’s electricity sector over the years ended the country in overdrive mode when these two unfortunate global events evolved and the transmission of their negative impacts globally.
“It is a lesson to pick on and diversify from this century old fossil fuel and develop our own abundant indigenous renewable energy resources,” he said.
The roadmap report was formulated by the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification in partnership with Solomon Power supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).