The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $6 million grant to the Government of Tuvalu to help fund expanded access to modern energy services; improve the quality, reliability, and climate resilience of the energy sector, and reduce the country’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels for power generation, while making the cost of power generation more affordable.

The Increasing Access to Renewable Energy Project will reduce diesel generation and increase the renewable energy contribution from 15% to 32% in Funafuti and from around 70% to over 90% in Tuvalu’s outer islands.

“The project is the first ADB-supported energy sector project in Tuvalu,” said the Director of ADB’s Pacific Energy Division Mr. Olly Norojono. “It will increase the utilization of renewable energy in the country and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the country’s power subsector.”

The grant will fund the installation of rooftop solar photovoltaic and battery energy storage systems in Funafuti as well as the implementation of climate resilient, ground-mounted, solar photovoltaic systems in the outer islands of Nukufetau, Nukulaelae, and Nui. The systems will allow short, regular periods of energy being generated only from renewable sources, which is a positive step towards the country’s target of 100% renewable energy penetration.

The project will also strengthen the institutional capacity of Tuvalu Electricity Corporation by training staff in inclusive renewable energy project development and implementation. When the project is complete, 35% of the electricity delivered to the people of Tuvalu during daylight hours will be from clean renewable energy sources.

The project is one of a series of renewable energy projects being financed under ADB’s Pacific Renewable Energy Investment Facility, which was developed in response to the growing demand from the region for energy finance. The facility also provides innovative financing mechanisms and upscale support for sector reform in the smallest 11 Pacific island countries consisting of the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

ADB has supported Tuvalu since 1993, committing $7.9 million in loans, $42.3 million in grants, and $8.6 million in technical assistance. ADB’s grant is sourced from the Asian Development Fund, with the Government of Tuvalu contributing $480,000 to the project.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.