Renewable Energy - Micronesia

PV off-grid systems for the Pacific Islands:

Socially en Environmentally Adapted Project Designs for Remote and Rural Areas

Design of the systems taking into account budget, socio-economic and environmental factors and ensuring sustainable operation and maintenance

 

Introduction to REP-5

The Assistance to the Energy Sector in Five ACP Pacific Island States (REP-5) programme, funded under the 9th European Development Fund, was begun in January 2006, and will run until December 31st 2009. The five countries covered by the programme are the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Nauru, Niue, Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). REP-5 will implement renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in those five countries as a means of helping them reduce their dependency on imported fossil fuels and increasing the availability of electricity services to their outer island communities. A consortium composed of IT Power, Transénergie, and Ademe has been awarded the contract to manage the projects by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. The Project Management Unit (PMU) currently has an office in Suva, Fiji with two staff and an office in FSM with one staff.

Most of the large capital projects will be implemented by the end of 2008.

Summary


The REP-5 programme, “Support to the Energy Sector in 5 ACP Pacific Islands” is being implemented by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat supported from the 9th European Development Fund (EDF9).  The programme is managed by IT Power, Transénergie and ADEME and focuses on renewable energy and energy efficiency activities in five Pacific Island Countries (PICs). The governments of two of the island countries (FSM and the Republic of the Marshall Islands) requested PV solar systems for their un-electrified outer Islands. These two countries are part of the greater Micronesian Region of the North Pacific and consist of 607 islands. The countries are spread over a large region of the north western Pacific encompassing an area of approximately 3 million square kilometers. The islands vary geologically from high mountainous islands to low coral atolls, with volcanic outcroppings on Pohnpei, Kosrae, and Chuuk (part of the Federated States of Micronesia). Besides the wide area and the remoteness of the outer islands the culture, languages and the traditions of the islanders vary widely. All these factors combine to create a challenging environment for the installation of PV systems, where ensuring good operation of the systems in the medium to long term requires special attention and adapted technical and socio-economic solutions. This paper is concerned with presenting the solutions adopted for the FSM and RMI outer island PV system designs in the framework of the REP-5 project.

In the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), REP-5 will implement nine (9) different remote island PV off-grid systems and in Marshall Islands (RMI) they will implement SHS and off-grid systems for schools. Interestingly, the chosen designs of the systems were related to the cultural background and socio-economic environment of the individual island, and created the challenge of having differently designed PV systems installed in the various states according to the existing unique cultural and environmental structures. The system designs vary from mini-grid systems with pre-paid meters for the households in Yap State, to SHS designed with 200 Wp PV modules, inverter and the battery box installed outside for RMI and portable solar lanterns for Chuuk State; and from PV mini grid systems for schools and dispensaries in Chuuk State, individual stand-alone systems for schools and health centres in Pohnpei State to five (5) grid-connected systems in Kosrae State.  All of these were developed with local input in order to suit the specific cultural, social, environmental and geographic needs of each of the islands, whose climates and topography vary.

The outer islands in Micronesia are very remote and can only be reached by boats or by a small plane which flies only twice a month and only if there are sufficient passengers. The local project managers are the local utilities (three in FSM and one in RMI), the department of transportation and Infrastructure (in Pohnpei State) and the Energy Division under the Department of Resources and Development of the FSM National Government. An important part of the project is that the households will be educated in the conservation of energy and will actively participate in demand side management (DSM) when using their appliances and this not only on the islands where the PV systems are installed but nationwide. On each remote island the community will be assisted to create an electrical supply committee which will ensure that the number of electrical appliances will not go beyond the installed capacity and ensure that the systems will be well maintained. This will likely help avoid over-usage of the designed systems. Also, small service centers will be established in the outer islands where trained, local staff will sell spare parts, electrical appliances suitable for the installed systems and will do the maintenance for a small fee.  This will begin the process of building both the private sector and the capacity of the nation.

For more information please contact the adresses below and for a more details about the PV systems for Yap state click: 

PV mini-grids for Yap State - FSM