30th November 2021, Nuku’alofa. Despite the challenge of the global pandemic, the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE) were able to conduct its 6th Steering Committee (SC) meeting virtually. The work of the PCREEE is guided by its SC which consists of Pacific energy delegates from all SPC’s member countries. The SC is held once a year to update member countries and donors on the progress of the PCREEEE. The SC discusses strategic guidance to the annual work plans and budgets, progress reports, financial statements and to seek recommendations and endorsement for the PCREEE work plans and budgets.
The 6th SC meeting was chaired by the Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC), Mr Paula Pouvalu Ma’u and the Acting Director for Energy, Mr ‘Ofa Sefana.
In delivering the keynote address to the meeting, Mr Ma’u highlighted the approval of the Tonga Energy Bill by the Tongan Parliament. He stresses the importance of the Energy Bill to transform the energy sector of Tonga, while working toward achieving the NDC and the national energy targets.
“To support the Bill, we are also finalising the next phase of the Tonga Energy RoadMap [TERM Plus]. Among the areas we are looking at mini-grids, energy efficiency and sustainable mobility, and I am glad the PCREEE is already engaging with our Department of Energy to support Tonga’s effort in these areas”, said MEIDECC CEO Paula Ma’u.
The Deputy Director of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Geoscience and Energy Programme (GEP), Mr Akuila Tawake, delivered the opening remarks. In his remarks he stated the slow deliveries and progress of energy projects in the Pacific was due to the pandemic and unforeseen costs. He acknowledged the opportunity for some countries to revise and extende their national targets. He encouraged members to be firm and confident as this is an opportunity to bounce back and recover stronger, cleaner and more resilient.
He acknowledged the adoption of the Framework for Energy Security and Resilience in the Pacific (FESRIP) 2021-2030 at the Forum leaders meeting. The FESRIP is a blueprint for sustainable energy development in the PICs and it is emphasis on the resilience of energy infrastructure and services – not only from natural disasters but also from events such as the pandemic.
“SPC has gone through a tough time this year, with our Suva office closed for more than five months and with staffs working from home. Work programme deliveries have been affected and depended mostly on local capacity and expertise to coordinate events on the ground. I am glad the PCREEE was able to adjust during 2021 and I am told that it’s deliveries are at 75% this month and hoping to achieve 80% or higher by the end of the year”, Akuila mentioned in his remarks.
The Nukuálofa-based PCREEE is funded by the Norwegian government, Austrian Development Agency and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisations (UNIDO). PCREEE is among a global network of 10 energy centres established by UNIDO. Martin Lugmayr, Sustainable Energy Expert and Coordinator of the Global Network of Sustainable Energy Centres (GN-SEC) – UNIDO, provided a remark on behalf of the donors. He acknowledged the approval of further funding from the Austrian government to PCREEE’s institutional support and the promotion of SIDS-SIDS cooperation with other regional Centers in the Caribbean and African countries.
The PCREEE assisted PICs in the area of renewable energy and energy efficiency such as electric vehicle awareness in Samoa, loaning schemes for renewable energy and energy efficiency investment in Vanuatu, funding proposal for Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, mini-grid training in Tonga, and establishment of the level 1 & 2 sustainable energy at the Tonga institute of Science and Technology. The PCREEE has recruited country coordinator in the Cook Islands, Solomon Island and Papua New Guinea, with the hope to expand to other PICTs in 2022.
The meeting closed with members’ full support of the PCREEE’s work plan and budget for 2022 and will continue to provide technical assistance and supports to all its member countries. The PCREEE will be celebrating its 5th Anniversary in April 2022, a milestone since its established in Tonga in 2017.
6th PCREEE Steering Committee Meeting | PCREEE
Mr. Kakau Foliaki, Programme Delivery Officer-PCREEE – firstname.lastname@example.org