L3EAP Energy Workshop reveals government plans for sustainable energy

Fiji needs in excess of $50 million per annum to meet its Sustainable Energy for All targets by 2030. This was revealed by the Permanent Secretary of Infrastructure and Transport, Paul Bayly, at the Project L3EAP-organized Workshop for Project Managers in Energy and Climate Change at the Tanoa Plaza on 11 May 2016. He remarked that Geothermal, solar power and hydro are where most funding would be required. Up to $14 million investment is ear-marked for geothermal energy development alone. The L3EAP Project Coordinator in Fiji, Dr. Anirudh Singh, said that the aim of the workshop was to “bring together players in the energy and climate change sectors with current or prospective managers to articulate the requirements for project management from different perspectives and to examine the practices that assure good management of projects.” The workshop attracted more than 70 participants with diverse fields of interests ranging from energy SMEs and NGOs to academics, students and the government sector.

L3EAP Energy Workshop reveals government plans for sustainable energy
The participants from left to right are:
1. Dr Mahendra Kumar Climate Change Advisor Pacific Islands Development Forum
2. Professor Shawkat Ali Dean of Science and Technology University of Fiji
3. Professor Maurizio Cirrincione Head of School – School of Engineering and Physics University of the South Pacific Laucala Campus
4. Mr Paul Bayly (Chief Guest) Permanent Secretary Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport Fiji
5. Dr Anirudh Singh Associate Professor in Physics and Project Supervisor to Project L3EAP University of the South Pacific Laucala Campus
6. Professor Dan Orcherton Director of Education for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation (ECCAM) Project Fiji National University Suva
7. Associate Professor Assaf Mansour School of Engineering and Physics University of the South Pacific Laucala Campus
8. Alvaro Luna Coordinator of EU-GIZ Project GIZ Fiji

In his keynote address, the Permanent Secretary acknowledged the contributions of the European Union (EU) for their continued support to Higher Education in the region. “This continuous co-operation between EU, USP and other universities forms a strategic partnership towards providing a steady supply of highly qualified people in our Pacific Countries. In terms of the Energy Sector we are on the pathway of building our local capacity to recognize and mitigate climate change.” Global Green Growth Institute’s Country Representative for Fiji and Vanuatu, Katerina Syngellakis, took the workshop through the project development life cycle and pointed out that applying for funding formed part of the Conceptual and Planning phases of the cycle. She informed the gathering that funding proposals could be either a one-step process, or a two-step process that included a concept note followed by the full proposal.

The government has several legislations and programmes to promote the funding of energy projects by SMEs. This was revealed by FDB’s Jay Rathod, who described the role of the Import Substitution and Export Financing Facility (ISEFF) and the GEF-funded Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (SEFF). Director of Energy Paula Katirewa outlined the government incentives for energy projects, including the Renewable Energy Loan Ratio (RELR) of 2% that the commercial financing sector were required to adhere to.

FEA CEO Hasmukh Patel revealed that the power utility was on trek to achieving the FEA mission of 90% electricity generation by renewable energy by 2025. The FEA currently has renewable energy stations at six sites in the country, supplemented by 13 diesel power plants situated around the county. Together they amount to an installed capacity of 294 MW and available capacity of 262 MW. This is more than ample to meet the 167MW peak power demand by FEA’s 172,000 customers. However the utility constantly assesses the power demand situation under its 10-year Power Development Plan to find gaps that need to be filled by new energy projects.

The Attaché for the EU Delegation in Suva, Antonio Clemente Hernanadez, highlighted EU’s policy for energy and Agenda for Change in the Pacific, with examples from Nauru, Tonga and Fiji. Outlining the qualities of a good project manager, IUCN’s Anare Matakiviti said the most important attributes of good project managers included good personality, the ability to “get things done”, and the desire to do it.