Reporting year: 2016
Achievement at a glance
During 2015, the partnership gained great momentum, with increase in the number of partners (34 SIDS and 19 stakeholders) and progress across all objectives (details below), from development of energy plans, roadmaps and support mechanisms (including training and capacity workshops in different regions), to assessment of needs and resources (quickscans, renewable readiness assessments and grid stability studies) and facilitation of financing (six islands projects selected for funding from IRENA/ADFD Project Facility and development of project developers and financiers matchmaking tools).
Challenges faced in implementation
Next steps
  • Further develop the existing partnerships to the Lighthouses Initiative in order to better leverage the financial, technical, and human resources of these organizations in supporting island energy transition efforts
  • Intensify the focus and efforts on developing programmatic approaches to facilitate practical applications and measurable impacts including facilitating the aggregation of solar photovoltaic, wind, geothermal, marine technology and energy storage projects covering several islands.
  • Identifying and implementing sustainable ownership models and end-use applications for renewable energy in the tourism, water and transport sectors on islands.
  • Planning and enabling environment advisory services including the development of renewable energy roadmaps and grid integration studies as well as capacity building in developing and implementing renewable energy projects will remain an integral area of support for many island partners.
  • Capacity building for islands will be pursued in close consultations with islands, regional organizations that are energy focal points in the Africa, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea (AIMS) and the Pacific region.
  • The progress of the SIDS Lighthouses initiative toward achieving its objectives will be monitored and documented at least once a year through IRENA’s Annual Report.
Measurable outcomes
34 island partners in the following regions – Caribbean (14), AIMS (5), and Pacific (13) Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cape Verde, Cuba, Comoros, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Grenada, Guyana, Kiribati, Republic of Maldives, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Montserrat, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.
Objective 1: Government leadership and political will

30 island partners have set renewable energy targets. 14 SIDS partners aim to have more than 50% of electricity coming from renewables by 2020 All SIDS partners have developed an Energy Policy / Plan which sets out targets and priorities for the energy sector

Objective 2: Identification of needs, and learning from experiences


Completed for 20 island partners, ongoing for the remaining 14 island partners and in addition, 17 island territories who are members of the Association for Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTA)


The following workshops were held in coordination with governments and utilities of SIDS LHI partners.

Martinique: 22-24 June 2015 with the government of France
  • Participants included: government officials, companies, utilities, banks, experts in RE resource assessment, development partners
  • Technologies covered: wind, ocean, geothermal, biomass, waste-to-energy and desalination
  • Topics covered: resource assessment, project site selection, financing, technology cost reduction, policy and regulatory support, information sharing and training
  • Outcomes covered in the Martinique Action Plan (MAP), which outlines practical steps for deployment of renewable energy resources and technologies (chiefly wind, marine, geothermal and biomass)

Honolulu, Hawaii: 21-23 July 2015 with the US government and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community

  • Focused on renewable energy transition in Pacific islands
  • Reviewed the policy, legal and regulatory frameworks needed to attract renewable energy investment in Pacific SIDS
  • Examined an integrated approach to energy sector planning and programme implementation
  • Showcased the US DOE Island Energy Playbook, an action-oriented guide to an energy system reliant upon local resources to eliminate a dependence on imported fuels
  • Highlighted lessons learned from both Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands experiences in transitioning to renewables
  • Explored financing and capacity-building options

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 3-4 August 2015 with the government of Japan

  • Participants included: 21 countries and 5 organisations
  • Focused on opportunities and challenges for financing renewable energy in SIDS, and developing specific measures to achieve the MAP goals
  • Recommendations centred on:

  1. Continuing to build and strengthen capacity and access to funding at regional and national level;
  2. Facilitating the development and financing of renewable energy projects (e.g. with Project Navigator);
  3. Identify and use appropriate business models, financial instruments and funding sources for small-scale RE systems in SIDS context

Cape Town, South Africa: 5 October 2015 with the government of Germany
  • Held in the margins of the South Africa Renewable Energy Conference
  • Financing modalities available for islands by financing institutions like AFD, World Bank and the European Investment Bank were discussed with focus on:
    i) financing options available for early stage transactions,
    ii) project financing and
    iii) the requirements islands need to meet in order to access such financing will be discussed.

Aruba Learning Event, Aruba, 26 – 27 October 2015 with the Rocky Mountain Institute – Carbon War Room and Clinton Climate Initiative
  • Was attended by Ministers of energy, utilities executives and engineers, and regulators from 25 islands from the Caribbean, AIMs, and Pacific region attended
  • Discussed the current landscape of renewable energy policy, technology, and good practices
  • Showcased renewable energy penetration progress in Aruba and its possibility for other islands
  • Exchanged experiences about policy and regulatory implications when transitioning to renewables
  • Discussed next steps for implementing a Community of practice to foster collaboration and coordination, learning and knowledge sharing

Training to Support Renewable Energy Development in Asia-Pacific Island Nations, Tokyo, 8 - 12 February 2016 with the government of Japan

  • Representatives from 10 island nations (Cook Islands, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Palau, Papa New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu) participated in the training.
  • The training focused on exchanging knowledge and information on policy, regulator, institutional and financial aspects for enabling the energy transition in islands.

Objective 3: Developing guidelines, tools and support mechanisms

Renewable Readiness Assessments have been developed for seven islands partners - Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Grenada, Kiribati, Fiji, Marshall Islands, and Vanuatu.

Renewable Energy Roadmaps have been developed for six island partners - Kiribati, Maldives, Mauritius (Ocean Energy Roadmap), Barbados, FSM and Palau.. In addition, IRENA completed a roadmapping baseline report for Pacific SIDS (Pacific Lighthouses: Renewable Energy Roadmapping for Islands).

Grid Stability Studies have been completed for six island partners - Samoa (2 studies), Antigua & Barbuda, Cook Islands, Fiji (in pipeline), Cuba (in pipeline), and Vanuatu (in pipeline).

Objective 4: facilitate development of enabling frameworks for investment

IRENA/ADFD Project Facility

To date, six island projects have been selected for funding provided through a joint facility between IRENA and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) for a total budget of USD 66 million.

  • Antigua and Barbuda ADFD USD 15 million, co-finance USD 30 million Antigua and Barbuda has been suffering from severe droughts over the past few years leading to water stress across the country. This desalination project will aid the provision of reliable water services in times of low supply and benefit vulnerable communities through increased water access. The project will also help meet the national mitigation targets set out under the UNFCCC Paris agreement by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 8,275 tons of CO2 per year.
  • Cape Verde ADFD USD 8 million, co-finance USD 12 million The combination of technologies used in this project will result in a 100% renewable solution for the Island of Brava, fulfilling a national goal. It will result in a reduction of CO2 emissions of approximately 4,665 tons each year as well as improving local air quality.
  • St Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG) ADFD USD 15 million, co-finance USD ca 75 million: A 15 MW geothermal plant is set to transform the energy mix of the Caribbean island nation of SVG from 80% diesel to 75% geothermal, supply consistent power to the entire population of 104,000, create local jobs, lower the cost of doing business, slash import bills by about USD 15.6 million and reduce CO2 emissions by 53,000 tonnes per year from avoided diesel combustion.
  • Maldives ADFD USD 6 million, co-finance USD 6 million: A small-scale waste-to-energy plant will supply 62 million litres per year of drinking water and 4 MW of grid-connected clean power to 12,000 people in the Addu, R. Vandhoo and Haa Dhaalu island atolls, mitigating the equivalent of 9,200 tonnes per year of CO2.
  • Samoa ADFD USD 7 million, co-finance USD 7 million: A biomass for power generation project will provide 3 MW of sustainable grid-connected electricity to homes and businesses on two islands, Upolu and Savaii, making energy accessible to up to 11,000 people and also producing 4 million litres per year of biodiesel to displace expensive fossil fuel imports
  • Cuba ADFD USD 15 million, co-finance USD 15 million: A 10 MW grid-connected solar PV project will provide reliable energy to 5,300 people in five provinces and reduce CO2 emissions by 10,800 tonnes per year.

Objective 5: facilitate matchmaking between project developers and financiers

An island module is under development for IRENA’s Project Navigator. The module will:
  • Develop technical concepts for small PV residential systems and off-grid applications
  • Undertake regional adaptation of Project Navigator for the specific funding conditions of SIDS
  • Support the RE energy development on islands with capacity building workshops on drafting project proposals and learning material for train-the-trainer workshops
  • Add Project Navigator functionality to cluster various small project proposals on islands in order to enable funds access and develop synergies between multiple projects

A Sustainable Energy Marketplace for the Caribbean region is operational and will be in place for the Pacific region by end 2016.
Status of initiative
On track
Supporting Documents
United Nations