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Rural communities without electricity will benefit from an agreement signed yesterday by Government and Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation for cheaper renewable energy. They include those not connected to the electricity grid-
18 Oct 2017 11:00
MORE TO GET 24/7 POWER
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama signs the agreement on October 17, 2017, in Denarau, Nadi. Looking on are (standing from left) LDF climate programme director Gregory Lopez, Vio Village headman Semi Mana, Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Climate Change Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Roko Sau Josefa Cinavilakeba, Board Trustee and Vanua Representative of FLMM, Sunergise Co-Founder and Managing Director Ajay Raniga, Deputy Chairman of FEA Gardiner Whiteside and FEA chief executive officer Hasmukh Patel. Photo: Office of the Attorney-General

Rural communities without electricity will benefit from an agreement signed yesterday by Government and Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation for cheaper renewable energy.

They include those not connected to the electricity grid- such as maritime areas and mainland rural villages and settlements. Hollywood megastar DiCaprio’s Foundation supports global efforts to protect the environment.

The Fiji Rural Electrification Fund will benefit thousands of Fijians who have lived for decades without 24/7 electricity supply and will pay less for their electricity consumption. Solar and battery will be used as energy sources.

Prime Minister and President of COP23, Voreqe Bainimarama, said, “This programme is a shining example of the Grand Coalition we are mobilising to address the challenge of climate change by working with leaders across the world and from all walks of life – governments at all levels, the private sector, foundations and civil society. As incoming COP23 President, I am pleased to see this partnership coming together for the good of the Fijian people and as a model that can work in other countries around the globe.”

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum while giving details of how this will benefit Fijians said the Fijian Government is looking for ways to partner with the private sector and civil society to deliver improved services to our communities for the long term.

“As we are here at the pre-COP meetings, we expect it to be a model that other vulnerable island nations and rural communities around the world can replicate to make a real impact in the fight against climate change,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“This innovative financing programme will provide clean energy to communities at the same or a lower price than diesel generators, which rely on a supply chain that is easily disrupted by extreme weather events. We are keen to continue our work alongside the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and urge this fund be established on the basis of sustainability, so we can attract more private sector investments, foundation contributions and benefits for ordinary Fijians” he said.

Chief executive officer of the Foundation Terry Tamminen, said, “Island nations are on the front lines of climate change, and with Fiji’s leadership we can demonstrate how practical renewable energy solutions can improve lives and increase resiliency at the same time.”

Sunergise Co-Founder and Managing Director, Ajay Raniga, expressed delight in being a development partner for this initiative. “We are very excited and honoured to work with the Fijian Government, FEA, LDF and FLMMA to provide the commercial and technical skills to make their rural electrification project successful and provide sustainable solutions to communities across Fiji.”

Roko Sau Josefa Cinavilakeba, Board Trustee and Vanua Representative of FLMMA, noted the community resiliency benefits of the programme. “A vibrant, empowered and resilient community is critical in adapting to the future. We are honoured to be part of this exciting collaboration in helping brighten the future of these communities.”

Gardiner Whiteside, the Deputy Chairman of FEA, said “FEA is proudly committed to providing electricity services to Fijian communities while improving the environment. This is a timely initiative given FEA’s key corporate strategic goal to become a 100 per cent renewable energy provider to all Fijians. FEA is the largest renewable energy generator in Fiji and we thank our partners in this project for their leadership in achieving our shared vision.”

The partners:

  •  The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation will provide seed funding using two villages – Vio Settlement, opposite Lautoka Sugar Wharf, in the district of Vitogo, in the province of Ba and Nacula Village, in the Yasawa Group, also in the province of Ba will get renewable electricity
  •  Non-Government Organisation FLMMA will work with communities to help ensure they understand the programme, receive the training on the solar systems to be installed so that they can undertake the minor day to day system operations, and report to the development partners.
  •  Development partners Sunergise and the Fiji Electricity Authority will form a joint venture and do the groundwork in providing the hardware.

What happens:

The communities served by this programme will receive round-the-clock electricity services from solar and battery hybrid systems for the same or less money than they currently spend on fossil fuels to run diesel generators for only three to four hours a day. The first two communities are expected to come online in the third quarter of 2018.

Costs:

Villages and communities will need to agree for this project to be implemented in their area. Money that is raised from this, through the payment of electricity, will be kept in a fund, which will be used to start the project in another community.

Sunergise Co-Founder and Managing Director, Ajay Raniga, expressed delight in being a development partner for this initiative. “We are very excited and honoured to work with the Fijian Government, FEA, LDF and Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network

(FLMMA) to provide the commercial and technical skills to make their rural electrification project successful and provide sustainable solutions to communities across Fiji.”

Roko Sau Josefa Cinavilakeba, Board Trustee and Vanua Representative of FLMMA, noted the community resiliency benefits of the programme. “A vibrant, empowered and resilient community is critical in adapting to the future. We are honoured to be part of this exciting collaboration in helping brighten the future of these communities.”

Gardiner Whiteside, the Deputy Chairman of FEA, said “FEA is proudly committed to providing electricity services to Fijian communities while improving the environment. This is a timely initiative given FEA’s key corporate strategic goal to become a 100 per cent renewable energy provider to all Fijians. FEA is the largest renewable energy generator in Fiji and we thank our partners in this project for their leadership in achieving our shared vision.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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