Maldives, Crowd Sourcing to Reach Carbon Neutral Goal
Maldives Promotion House – The Maldivian government has announced that they plan on using solar energy to generate 60 percent of the country’s electricity before 2020. With the release of the Maldives Renewable Energy Investment Framework (MREIF), an analysis of technical and financing options for cutting out fossil fuels from the country’s electricity infrastructure, Maldives will also soon become the first country to crowd source its renewable energy plan on the internet.
During a recent event in New York, USA, Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed outlined the Maldives’ carbon neutral energy plan. He noted that it was high time the Maldives and other countries shift from oil to renewable sources of electricity.
The Vice President also revealed the government’s decision to crowd source the carbon neutral energy plan by inviting energy and finance experts from the Maldives and around the world to contribute via online consultation.
“Being a small country, the Maldives doesn’t have a huge amount of renewable energy expertise,” the Vice President pointed out, calling on people to help make the Maldives’ plans as robust as possible.
According to the MREIF document, up to a 90 percent reduction in electricity emissions should be achievable by 2020 without driving up local energy bills. While a 100 percent reduction may also be possible, the document reads that achieving this target would be “difficult and needs new technology to be commercialised to make it happen.”
While the project depends on solar power for delivering 60 percent of the country’s electricity by 2020, a new biomass power station has also been proposed to complement the solar systems on the larger islands. While wind power shows promise, this technology is unlikely to play a key role due to regular windless periods.
Economic modelling suggests it is already cheaper to generate electricity from solar photovoltaic panels than from diesel on many Maldivian islands. The direct cost of daytime solar PV is around USD 0.21 per kilowatt hour, compared to USD 0.28 – USD 0.44 per kW/hour for existing diesel generators.
To overcome the lack of technical expertise, the Ministry of Economic Development will invite experts all over the globe to scrutinise and improve its plan via the new crowd-sourcing website, maldives.co2.org.
The site has forums on specific issues such as the best kinds of solar panels for corrosive environments, and the establishment of the Maldives Energy Finance Company, a proposed organisation for reducing the costs of infrastructure and capital. The website also invites discussion on more fundamental questions such as: “How aggressively should the Maldives pursue carbon neutrality, at the expense of short-term economic wellbeing?”
“We are investing in renewable energy because it is cheaper and cleaner than burning fossil fuels. At the moment, our economy is run on imported oil and every time the oil price rises, we all suffer,” Minister for Economic Development, Mahmood Razee said.
The New York event was hosted by the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA), an alliance of more than 270 non-profit organizations all over the world. The GCCA works to promote the low-carbon transition of the world’s economies. Also speaking alongside the Vice President was a minister from the United Kingdom, a representative from the United Nations and Kumi Naidoo, the head of Greenpeace International.