The National, Tuesday October 15th, 2013
THE Pacific region’s primary energy demand is projected to more than double from 3.6 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2010 to 8.8million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2035 at an annual rate of 3.7%, Asian Development Bank said.
In its latest Energy Outlook for Asia and Pacific, ADB noted that while these high energy demands present significant challenges, energy efficiency and renewable energy options hold great promise.
“Reliance on imported fuels for power generation hinders development in Pacific, where electricity prices are among highest in the world and, on average, only around 30% of households have access to electricity,” Robert Guild, director of transport, energy and natural resources division in ADB’s Pacific Department, said.
The new ADB report aimed to identify policy, social, infrastructure, and technology issues that needed to be addressed to meet future energy requirements of member-countries and examines impact of taking action versus operating with “business as usual” scenarios.
The report found PNG would account for 75.8% of total primary energy demand in the Pacific by 2035.
It stressed the need for the country to keep its focus on hydro generation for electricity, rather than increasing fossil fuel electricity generation.
Fiji is endowed with hydro resources, but still partially relies on expensive imported fossil fuels.
The Outlook warns that this dependence on imported oil makes the country vulnerable to international price fluctuations.
Other island countries the report was focused on included; Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu as a group, as none of these islands possess proven reserves of coal, oil, and gas.