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Murray McCully

26 March, 2013

$635 million for an energy efficient Pacific

Co-hosts New Zealand and the European Union today announced that a funding envelope of $635 million has been secured at the Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland to advance renewable energy projects across the Pacific.

Pacific countries presented 79 projects at the Summit, providing donors and the private sector with opportunities to identify projects for partnership and collaboration. Partners and donors have responded by committing $255 million in grant funding and $380 million in concessional loans to support over 40 of the proposed projects.

While some projects are sufficiently advanced to enable funding to be confirmed by donors, some will require further work in the weeks ahead.

Investors include co-hosts New Zealand and the European Union, Australia, the Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the World Bank Group, and the United Arab Emirates.

"Clean and efficient modern energy services are the cornerstone of sustainable development, economic activity and poverty reduction. Currently, the Pacific region meets around 80 per cent of its electricity generation needs from expensive imported fossil fuels. Yet the region has abundant renewable energy resources, including hydropower, solar, wind, biomass and geothermal," Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says.

"Investment projects featured by Pacific Island countries at the Summit would help many of them increase their power generation from renewable resources to close to 50 per cent of total supply," Mr McCully says.

Andris Piebalgs, EU Development Commissioner, says the European Union's cooperation with the Pacific stretched back over a decade and the EU welcomed the opportunity to form innovative partnerships, particularly with the energy sector.

"Investing in global renewable energy reflects the needs of our modern world. Working with our partner countries in the Pacific, the EU is committed to catalyse real change quickly, bringing citizens and business together to provide security, sustainability and prosperity," Mr Piebalgs says.

Mr McCully also announced $65 million of New Zealand funding to assist Pacific Island countries to realise their renewable energy and energy efficiency plans. Support was announced for some of our closest neighbours; the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu.