Marshall Islands | Efficiency: How the Republic of the Marshall Islands increased theirs within energy generation

Aug 19, 2015

Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands. Photo credit: UNDP Fiji.

Efficiency is a keyword. Not only for companies, development agencies and governments but also for individuals and nature in general.

To be at one’s most efficient is something that we all strive for. However, efficiency takes on a whole new level of importance when it comes to energy efficiency in small island states, such as the Republic of the Marshall Islands. They have limited access to energy sources, and wasted energy can have a negative impact on a country that spends millions of dollars every year to import fuel to power energy stations. 

The United Nations Development Programme and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme are collaborating with the government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to increase energy efficiency of power plants. 

As one project assistant highlighted, “Improving energy efficiency in the Marshall Islands is one of the most cost-effective ways of both reducing expenses and saving our environment.” 

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is a nation located near the equator in the western reaches of the Pacific Ocean, with a population of 68,480 spread across 1,156 individual island and islets. The Project for Sustainable Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Measures in Micronesia, is based on the implementation of sustainable renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, targeting both the supply and demand sides of electrical energy generation and utilization. It is a part of the regional Pacific Island Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy Project (PIGGAREP), where 13 other countries across the pacific have benefitted from funds targeting increased use of renewable enegry and more energ efficieny.

 The current requirement to get the power plant fully improved as per recommendation is more than funds currently available through PIGGAREP, and the project coordinator is currently working to mobilize the necessary funding. Photo credit: Diane McFadzien.

The donors are the Global Environment Facility and Denmark. Initially a report on the current levels of efficiency, including recommendations for increased efficiency was completed by the electrical engineering consultancy agency Jacobs SKM. The final report has been submitted and included a detailed and specific reform program and an implementation plan to minimize fuel consumption, and to identify measures available to increase generator efficiencies. 

“The final report and its suggestions for future reforms to create further efficiency within energy generation is key to us being able to move forward with the project” said the project manager, Michael Nation. 

Nation added further that, “This report will form the basis for the implementation phase of the project.” 

 The United Nations Development Programme and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme are collaborating with the government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to increase energy efficiency of power plants. Photo credit: Diane McFadzien.

Based on the report’s recommendations, necessary equipment for the implementation of the energy efficiency measures, such as cooling fans, meter measures, automated controlling units, etc., were sourced. A complete overhaul of one generator, elimination of waste oil as fuel in one generator, extensive cleaning of the other generator systems was completed in-house by Marshalls Energy Company’s workforce along with tank cleaning operations done by a local contractor, Island Mechanical Repairs & Services. The current requirement to get the power plant fully improved as per recommendation is more than funds currently available through PIGGAREP, and the project coordinator is currently working to mobilize the necessary funding. 

The project will allow Marshall Islands to more ably use the fuel they import to power their islands, and less energy will be wasted as the generators will be more efficient. Reducing costs for electricity production can generate savings that can rather be spent on, for example, building of better or more efficient infrastructure in other sectors or creating better Internet access for citizens. 

In other words it would give them more freedom to develop other sectors where they may have had constraints before. Furthermore, given the importance of efficiency, this project will go a long way towards creating a more stable and viable option for energy production in the Marshall Islands. 

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