Renewable Energies on Islands

A group of school students.

Solar Water Pump demonstration. Photo: GIZ

Tens of thousands gathered to celebrate "Fest' Napuan", the Pacific region's largest annual cultural event. The free to the public music festival took place in Port Vila, Vanuatu, for the 20th time. It acknowledged the resilience of the people of the Pacific who are exposed to extreme climate events like cyclone Pam, which devastated Vanuatu in March 2015. "Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction" was the chosen overall festival theme for this year. An entire festival day was dedicated to Renewable Energy. The IKI-project "Renewable Energies on Islands" acted as the sole sponsor of all key activities around renewable energy during this day with the main objective to raise awareness for growing threats and risks imposed by climate change and natural disasters.

Funded with € 2.6 million by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) from the Federal Environment Ministry, the project's main aim is to support the transition from fossil-fuel-based to renewable energy systems in various island communities around the world, and thus to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The project advises local political decision-makers who are working to develop national road maps for the transition to renewable energy systems, and involves energy supply companies and the private sector in the relevant discussions and knowledge exchange processes.

Three persons on stage.The project complements the activities of the Global Renewable Energy Islands Network (GREIN), an international network that was founded by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Its aim is facilitating the sharing of knowledge, experience and best practices in the field of renewable energy expansion in island communities.

One of the highlights was without doubt the Renewable Energy Song Competition, in which a dozen of bands entered the competition and performed their climate change & renewable energy songs. The festival also saw a public panel discussion on how the most vulnerable people are both suffering from and adapting to the negative impacts of climate change. A special women's booth was set up where women could tell and record their personal stories of how climate change is affecting their lives. Many workshops and public demonstrations were offered to the audience to learn more about energy efficient cook stoves, solar powered lighting and water pumps, about wind power and biofuel from coconut, energy efficient household appliances, as well as solar food dryers and traditional preserving methods. Dozens of technical experts were on-hand to explain the details of various renewable energy sources, to answer questions of the visitors and to disseminate practical knowledge around renewable energy.