Officials from 30 countries and organizations from across the world met in Malé, Maldives, to discuss ways to strengthen global efforts to address climate change and accelerate renewable energy deployment in small island developing states (SIDS).
The meeting of the Initiative for Renewable Island Energy (IRIE) was hosted by the Government of the Maldives, in its capacity as Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), in partnership with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
SIDS committed to renewable energy early on, seeing it as a way to develop their economies in a cost effective manner with renewables-based energy systems. Just over two GW of renewable technologies are already deployed in SIDS, and at least six GW of additional capacity is anticipated under Nationally Determined Contributions.
“Small island developing nations have been frontrunners in the global drive to scale-up renewables,” said Adnan Z Amin, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency, co-organizers of the event. “We are committed to supporting the renewable energy ambitions of our island partners, through the SIDS Lighthouses initiative, as they take their energy transformation to the next level.”
While there has been some progress, SIDS face financial and technical barriers in efforts to transition their power, heating, cooling, and transportation sectors to renewable energy. They are hoping to overcome the barriers with continued help from the international community.
“Small islands contribute a miniscule fraction of global emissions and yet we have taken the lead in committing to some of the most ambitious clean energy plans in the world,” said Thoriq Ibrahim, Energy and Environment Minister for the Maldives and Chair of Alliance of Small Island States. . “IRIE is a testament to island leadership and the important role the Maldives has played in the international effort to tackle climate change for over three decades.”