Feb 21, 2019 Last Updated 5:09 AM, Feb 20, 2019

AFTER years of dependence on fossil fuels, the good news from the international agency on renewable energy, IRENA is that the cost of technology on renewables are falling, and that by 2020, the average cost of power generation of all commercially available renewable energy technologies would be competitive with oil.

“Since 2009, solar PV module costs have fallen by more than 80%,” said IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency, hosted by the United Arab Emirates in its capital of Abu Dhabi, in one of its recent reports.

“The power generated by solar PV declined by 73 per cent between 2010 and 2017. Onshore wind costs have also fallen sharply. The global weighted average cost of electricity from onshore wind fell by 22% between 2010 and 2017, making it one of the most competitive sources of electricity available today.”

With IRENA confirming that RE technology is being widely available and cheaper, the onus now is on politicians to ensure that such lower costs trickle down to their population.

This will be so true for islands in the Pacific, members of the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) who for years had complained about high prices of fossil fuels that had strangled their desire to grow their small and vulnerable economies, burdened as they are already with limited natural resources and expensive transportation costs.

Indeed, another report of IRENA was more direct in stating the obvious, that these small states stand to benefit the Costs tumble in renewable energy most if the world shifts towards adopting renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels.

“Fossil fuel imports currently amounts to 8 per cent of GDP for SIDS worldwide. The shift therefore to renewable energy would cut import bills, promote sustainable development and increase their resilience,” said the IRENA report ‘A New World.’

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BOUGAINVILLEANS are to vote in June this year to decide whether to remain part of Papua New Guinea or to be independent.

The national government has tasked the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) to formulate and finalise the questions that will be on the ballot paper and the tentative dates for the referendum.

On the ground in Bougainville, there has been a lot of preparatory work including public awareness programmes and activities to help people understand the process.

Elected leaders in PNG’s three-tier government system on Bougainville have helped in awareness works in the three electorates of North, Central and South Bougainville. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has warned Bougainville to be wary of possible outside interference in the lead up to the referendum. He said such interferences could come in the form of misinformation.

The former prime minister of Ireland, Bertie Ahern has been appointed by the Joint Supervisory Body as chair of the BRC. During his term as prime minister, Ahern was involved in negotiations between parties to bring about peace in Northern Ireland.

He has since been involved in facilitating peace in other hot spots around the world including Ukraine, Nigeria, Iran, Turkey and the Basque Country.

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FIJI’S Catholic Church will consider the closure of its schools and public protests if it cannot successfully resolve an impasse with the Ministry of Education over the appointment of school heads. But any form of civil disobedience will be the final option for consideration only if three other proposals fail.…

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No more tokens please

Australia needs to treat the Pacific with a little more respect THE flying visit by Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, this month through Fiji and Vanuatu has been hailed as the beginning of a new era in regional détente. It was the first bi-lateral visit made by an Australian prime…
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