Pacific Island Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy Project (PIGGAREP)
- Cook Islands,
- Papua New Guinea (PNG),
- Solomon Islands,
ENTRY DATE: 09.03.2012 | LAST UPDATE: 09.03.2012
- Sub-regional Level
BEST PRACTICE IN:
- Capacity Building
- Research and Development
Description of Intervention
PICs are among the most vulnerable countries in the world to the adverse effects of climate change – the very existence of some PICs is threatened by climate change. Climate Change is a result of the concentration of GHGs like CO2 in the atmosphere. CO2 is released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burnt.
While the PICs continue to rely heavily on fossil fuels and only 30% of the population on average has access to electricity, they also have some of the highest renewable energy (RE) potential per capita. RE can reduce the PICs' dependence on fossil fuel thereby reducing the growth rate of GHG emissions from fossil fuel use. In addition, it can provide cleaner, more reliable and cost-effective energy services that are needed for sustainable development of the PICs. However, its development has been hindered by many factors. The PIGGAREP is a product of a Global Environment Facility (GEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-funded preparatory exercise, the Pacific Islands Renewable Energy Project (PIREP).
The PIREP was completed in 2006 and the implementation of the PIGGAREP commenced in 2007. The global environment and development goal of PIGGAREP is the reduction of the growth rate of GHG emissions from fossil fuel use in the PICs through the removal of the barriers to the widespread and cost-effective use of feasible RE technologies. The specific objective of the project is the promotion of the productive use of RE to reduce GHG emission by removing the major barriers to the widespread and cost-effective use of commercially viable renewable energy technologies. The successful implementation of the PIGGAREP is estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 30% by 2015 as compared to that in the business as Usual scenario.
Problems to be Addressed
The PIGGAREP project, however, faces daunting challenges from a geographical point of view. It is also a relatively small project, with its implementation spread across several years, and across eleven Pacific Island countries (PICs). Without very careful prioritisation of its efforts, it is likely that the project’s resources will be dissipated on activities that don’t materially contribute to the project’s objectives, over technologies that can’t compete, and over too many countries and agencies. Instead of focusing on this kind of prioritisation, however, the PIGGAREP project is also being used to fund a variety of energy policy and related activities that appear to have little direct relevance to the project’s stated objectives (e.g. larger energy sector information gathering and capacity building), notwithstanding their potential larger policy value.
This project is aimed at reducing the growth rate of GHG emissions from fossil fuel use in the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) through the widespread and cost-effective use of their renewable energy (RE) resources.
The specific objective of the project is the promotion of the productive use of RE to reduce GHG emissions by removing the major barriers to the widespread and cost-effective use of commercially viable renewable energy technologies.
How it fits into the EbA concept
The PIGGAREP project has direct linkages to international, regional and national projects and programmes. These include UNDP''s Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) activities, including the current Asia-Pacific regional environment and energy programmes.
UNDP’s sub-regional office in Apia, Samoa, covers the area of energy and environment through the implementation of a number of past, ongoing and planned regional projects, including the PIREP and earlier on, the PICCAP–a regional CC Enabling Activities initiative that covered 10 PICs. That regional project was executed and coordinated through the PICs regional Climate Change, Climate Variability and Sea Level Rise Programme, housed at SPREP. This programme deals with strengthening the capacity of PICs to deal with the challenges of climate change, including meteorology, adaptation, legal and policy advise and GHG mitigation, including Ozone Depleting Substances.
The project is expected to result in a reduction of 2 million tonnes of CO2 over the next ten years. While marginal from a global perspective, this would be significant in the context of PIC GHG emissions. At the same time, it is difficult to realistically assess the project’s performance in this regard. First, a substantial chunk of these 2 million tonnes of reductions is likely to result over the next ten years from RE facilities implemented in PICs regardless of this project’s outcome. Second, the Project Brief suggests that this it could reduce PIC GHG emissions by as much as 70% from a business as usual baseline by 2020.
As discussed elsewhere in this review, the scale and funding of this project appears completely inadequate to accomplishing such a lofty outcome. While RET deployment is not without potential environmental impacts, it is unlikely that the project as described here will result in environmental damage.