The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Vanuatu have committed $15.1 million for projects designed to increase renewable energy generation and energy access in the islands of Malekula and Espiritu Santo.
James Lynch, Deputy Director General of ADB’s Pacific Department, and Jean Pierre Nirua, Acting Minister of Finance and Economic Management, signed the agreements at a ceremony in Port Vila. The project will be financed from the ADB-supported Pacific Renewable Energy Investment Facility approved in June.
“The project will deliver an increased supply of clean, renewable electricity to households in Malekula and Espiritu Santo,” said Lynch. “This will have a positive effect on livelihoods of rural households and will also decrease long-term reliance on diesel fuel.”
The plan includes construction of a hydropower plant at Brenwe which is expected to provide more than 90% of the total generated energy for the Malekula grid through 2040.
The electricity grid will be extended to an additional 1,050 households in the two target islands. Newly connected households will be trained on options for electricity-based income generation, electricity safety, and budget management.
“We sought the generous assistance of ADB to help produce and deliver low-cost hydropower energy and grid extensions in the two targeted provincial centers,” said. Nirua. “Once the renewable energy arrives in Malekula and Espiritu Santo, the lives of the people in both islands will significantly change for the better. The supply of low-cost energy will greatly enhance increased business activity and contribute to better economic growth in the villages.”
To help fund the project, ADB will provide a concessional loan equivalent to $2.5 million, sourced from ADB’s ordinary capital resources. ADB’s Special Funds resources will also provide a $2.5 million grant. The Strategic Climate Fund will contribute a $7 million grant and the Government of Vanuatu will deliver $3.1 million.
Photo: James Lynch, Deputy Director General of ADB’s Pacific Department (right), and Jean Pierre Nirua, Acting Minister of Finance and Economic Management (left), at the signing ceremony in Port Vila. (ADB)