Melanesia faces problem with energy access - Solomon Star News

Melanesia faces problem with energy access

31 March 2014

MELANESIAN countries continue to battle the issue of energy access and connectivity to electricity power.

Speaking at the Asian Development Bank Pacific Business Media Summit last week in Sydney, Australia, Pacific energy specialist Anthony Maxwell said access rates for countries such as PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu ranged from 12 per cent to 25 per cent.

"A lot of Polynesian countries have very good energy access — most people on the main land are connected to power," said the ADB specialist.

"Access to energy is a major issue for Melanesian countries but there are some interesting things happening in this space. Elsewhere in the world are countries with access rates down 40 per cent and jumping very quickly up to about 70 per cent.

"There are very easy gains from new technology with solar lamps and household solar systems — solar lamps are charged during the day. You can hang them up and they give you light in the evening.

"Now we are seeing prices crashing for these technologies so they're becoming very affordable."

Mr Maxwell said those technologies were becoming affordable for low income countries to have modern technology and lighting in their houses.

He said the reason for this was also the manufacturing strength from China and India.

"So there are a lot of products coming through at very low rates."

Suva (Fiji Times)