With an independent, objective, and fact-based approach, the Islands Energy Program (IEP) brings experience gained from engagements with island governments, utilities, and civil society to solve the toughest energy challenges. The program is working with island partners to develop clean energy pathways to meet national goals and development objectives. They are primarily focused on solar energy and battery storage to design a new national energy transition strategy to decentralize electricity and eliminate the current single point of failure.
Islands have a high dependence on fossil fuels and with that suffer high electricity costs, volatile global oil prices, and a reliance on imported diesel. Yet, island nations possess abundant local and natural resources, such as wind, sun, and in some cases geothermal potential, which can be harnessed to provide low-cost, clean, affordable, local energy.
By using local resources, entire countries can be powered by clean energy. The Islands Energy Program (IEP) of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) aids island nations to transition from expensive and dirty energy sources to clean, affordable, and more resilient energy systems. The program operates on three pillars: 1) holistic energy planning, 2) project and program advisory and 3) energy leadership.
First, IEP convenes stakeholders to develop a national holistic energy transition plan. Second, they help develop, de-risk and prepare clean energy projects for market in order to attract top project developers and companies. Lastly, they connect island energy practitioners with experts in the sector through an online community where they can exchange lessons and learn from one another. The primary focus within the holistic energy plans is to decentralize the island’s energy production away from fossil fuel based sources to solar energy and battery storage. Solar energy marks the first step in unlocking energy transition, which later is integrated with wind energy and overall energy efficiency. Taken together, these three components become the drivers of innovation and transition speed.
• To enable islands to go to the root of the problem and be clean economies.
• Reduce electricity costs for residents and businesses
• Maintain high reliability of everyday electricity service
• Improve resilience to extreme weather events
• Have islands become more sustainable while fostering economic development
• Utilize more local renewable energy resources and less imported fuel
• A decentralized power supply requires government, business and communities to all come together and be fully engaged in the process. Merging all these sectors can be challenging
• It crucial to ensure that the benefits of energy transition are equitably distributed. This depends upon the regulatory framework and business utility model that is ultimately implemented — depending on local context, this can be a challenge.
Interview conducted with Justin Locke of the Rocky Mountain Institute. For more information, visit https://rmi.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/rmi-islands-energy-statement-qualifications-2019.pdf