Seychelles at the Renewables and Islands Summit-Sids face challenges to get low-interest financing for renewable energy projects, says Prof. Payet


Seychelles’ Minister of Environment and Energy, Professor PayetThe Seychelles delegation at the September 6-7 summit was headed by Environment and Energy Minister Professor Rolph Payet. He is accompanied by Public Utilities Corporation chief executive Philippe Morin and Seychelles Energy Commission chief executive Andrew Jean-Louis.

Professor Payet formed part of the high-level panel at the opening of the summit which highlighted the priority needs for Small Island Developing States (Sids) for renewable energy.

He highlighted the challenges of Sids in accessing low-interest financing for renewable energy projects and emphasised the need for technical support in considering renewable energy technologies.

Panelists, in particular, highlighted the increasing number of investors who want to take advantage of the lack of technical capacity in Sids to lock them into long-term investment contracts in renewable energy. By offering large sums of money, under the guise of no-risk investments, such investors make bogus offers for investment in renewable energy technologies which in many cases are either still in testing stage or not performing at established standards.

The summit concluded with a number of recommendations for implementation by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) – the main organiser of the summit.

The summit is being used as a platform for sharing best practices and showcasing innovative solutions, pooling of knowledge and exchange of ideas between islands with different level of development, discussions on the role of renewables in power generations and its end use in sectors, realising the high potential of renewable energy to address the islands’ energy needs and access in a sustainable way.

Irena has been given a strong mandate to support global efforts in adopting renewable energy.
The two-day summit took place at an opportune time as there are accelerating efforts to encourage countries to use more sustainable forms of energy such as renewable energy.

Seychelles’ first renewable energy projects include the Victoria wind turbine project financed through a grant from the United Arab Emirates.

This year has been declared by United Nations as the year for sustainable energy for all. Irena is committed at helping countries to achieve the aims sets under this theme.

In his welcoming address, George Pullicino, Minister for Resources and Rural Affairs of Malta, said that island states share a common vision of implementing renewable energy technology amidst limited financial resources and geophysical restrictions.

Irena director general, Adnan Amin said that the energy challenges faced by islands are severe and renewable energy is economically and commercially viable.

Four plenary panel sessions took place with presentations and general discussions.
The high-level panel addressed the implications of the Rio+20 outcome document on sustainable islands development and renewable energy.

Other than Minister Payet, the panelists included Darcy Boyce, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office of Barbados; Abdulmatheen Mohamed, Minister of State for Environment and Energy of the Maldives; George Pullicino, Minister for Resources and Rural Affairs of Malta; Riddell Akua, Minister for Utilities of Nauru; Kausea Natano, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Communication and Public Utilities of Tuvalu; and Adnan Amin.

Group photo of the delegates

An expert panel on island energy trends and strategies also took place in the morning, with five presentations addressing specific energy challenges and opportunities, and strategies to address them.

Strategic partnerships for renewable energy in islands were also discussed, with presentations on national programmes and experiences with public-private partnerships and incentives for mobilising private financing from Cape Verde, France, Germany, New Zealand, United States, UNDP and Saudi Arabia.

The last panel session focused on enabling frameworks for investment and provided the private sector’s perspective on opportunities and barriers to invest in renewable energy, with presentations by representatives of EDF, Hitachi, Vergnet, Youmicos AG and Enemalta Corporation.

On the final day of the Irena Renewables and Islands Global Summit, the delegates heard presentations on best practices and challenges in deploying renewable energy in islands.

Presentations showcased experiences from Denmark, Iceland, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Galapagos Islands, French island territories, Grenada and Tonga.

Irena also presented its Renewables Readiness Assessments.
The delegates also discussed and adopted the Malta communiqué on accelerating renewable energy uptake for islands, which includes proposed actions for future Irena help to islands.

Malta Resources and Rural Affairs Minister George Pullicino congratulated delegates on the successful meeting and praised their action-oriented involvement and collaborative spirit.

Mr Amin said the meeting reflected Irena’s approach of encouraging wide involvement and thanked island and non-island state delegates for their engagement. He noted that the experiences shared during the summit show that island states can lead the way in transformational change supported by renewable energy.