PORT VILA, (VANUATU DAILY POST) - Vanuatu’s favorite island resort, Iririki, is leading the way in the tourism sector to address the challenge of climate change by investing in renewable energy.
The resort has decided to take responsibility for its energy consumption.
Since two weeks ago it has been operating independently without reliance on UNELCO, having its own electricity generated on site from a solar power plant.
The decision to go off-the-grid was part of major renovations following its closure after cyclone Pam. Switching to renewable energy is part of a cost reduction initiative and it is more reliable and is pollution free, said the owner of Irikiki, Peter Stockley.
“We (the resort) are one of the largest consumer of power.
“We also have the most pristine environment in Vanuatu.
“We want to keep it that way for years to come.
“At this stage we are the first to tap into renewable energy to reduce emissions generated by our operations.
“We hope it’s a solution for other resorts too,” he said.
Installing solar power is a milestone in the history of Iririki since establishment, said General Manager Steve Frichot.
“It will significantly reduce operational costs,” he added.
Solar energy is becoming popular as an alternative energy source in Vanuatu.
Though, it is relatively expensive.
At the opening of the solar power plant, the Minister of Climate Change and Energy, Ham Lini, applauded the owners of Iririki Island Resort Holdings for investing in clean power.
“The investment supports Vanuatu Government to address climate change measures in reducing carbon emissions.
“Solar power plants for micro grids is the way to address rural energy access.
“The power plant here (Iririki) will reduce energy cost but ensures that more marketing of tourism products to Vanuatu could be a trade-off for such investments.
“The government is keen to convene discussions of such future projects when it comes to climate change.
“May you (Iririki) take this testing period to explore the benefits of solar energy and to inform the government of the actual energy saved and carbon footprint,” he said.
UNELCO Ltd was also applauded for its understanding of the project being implemented as a pilot for the tourism sector in Port Vila.
Minister Lini requested further collaboration from UNELCO to ensure more of such projects to happen in the sectors of tourism, agriculture and industry as contributors to the country’s GDP.
Synergise Ltd, Clay Energy Ltd and PCS Ltd as contractors were also applauded for successfully installing the solar grid.