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Powering a Pacific led renewable energy transformation

Promoting energy security and resilience

South Pacific Small Island Developing States face devastating climate change impacts from rising sea levels, drought and increased severe weather events. The region is also powered predominantly by imported fossil fuels and suffers from low electrification rates in many areas, making the transition to renewable energy a policy priority to reduce emissions and promote energy security and resilience.

Many Pacific Island states have committed to 100% renewable energy targets by 2030 under Nationally Determined Commitments (NDCs), but these ambitions come with complex implementation challenges, involving technical, social and financial barriers that are unique to each island context. There is also scant evidence of the governance arrangements capable of producing this scale of change within Pacific Island Small Island States.

This project builds on the successful Pacific Renewables Symposium in September 2021 to investigate the public and private ingredients necessary to bring sustainable renewable energy projects to the Pacific. Drawing on theories of orchestration (eg Abbott 2013) and place-based intervention (eg Keller & Virag 2021), the project aims to demonstrate how public and private arrangements, from the global to local scale, can be combined and sequenced to deliver renewable energy projects that serve and sustain Pacific Island people.

This project is supported by SEI’s 2022 Collaborative Project Fellowship scheme.

Contributors: Dr Kate Owens, Professor Susan Park