The grant for the Solar Power Development Project was signed by ADB Director General for the Pacific Ms. Carmela Locsin and Nauru’s Minister of Finance and ADB Governor Mr. Martin Hunt at a ceremony in ADB’s headquarters in Manila. The Government of Nauru will contribute USD4.98 million towards the initiative.

“Nauru currently relies heavily on imported diesel fuel for power generation,” said Ms. Locsin. “The Solar Power Development Project will reduce diesel dependency and help boost the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources from 3.0% to 47%.”

The grant will fund a 6-megawatt (MW) grid-connected solar power plant and a 2.5 MW-hour, 5 MW battery energy storage system to help supply continuous power even when solar energy is interrupted by cloud cover. The system will be fully automated and integrated with the existing diesel system to optimize solar energy use, enable optimal battery energy storage system charging and discharging, and allow optimal shut-off of the diesel engines. This will reduce Nauru’s reliance on diesel for power generation and decrease production costs.

The project will strengthen the institutional capacity of the Nauru Utilities Corporation by training staff in the operation and management of the solar plant and the battery energy storage system, while supporting gender-mainstreaming efforts and providing project implementation assistance. Project-related employment will include gender targets. When the project is complete, solar power will provide 100% grid-connected electricity supply to the people of Nauru during daylight hours.

The Nauru Solar Power Development 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 been supporting Nauru since 1991, and has committed a loan of USD5 million, grants totaling USD97.61 million, and technical assistance projects worth USD6.96 million./.

Khac Kien