Pacific Islands Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy Project (PIGGAREP) - Kiribati Interventions


Kiribati includes one raised coral island (Banaba) and 32 atolls in three island groups (Gilbert, Line and Phoenix) that are spread over an ocean area 4,200 km East to West and 2,000 km North to South including a total land area of 811 km 2 . The 2000 census counted 84,494 residents representing an annual growth rate of 1.7%. The urban area of Tarawa grew at an annual rate of 5.2% while rural population fell at 0.6% per year over the past decade. In 2000, the 36,717 person Tarawa population represented 43% of the total population of Kiribati.

Phosphate, once the leading source of income, was mined out in 1979 though some income from a phosphate reserve fund established in 1956 is still present. Outer islands remain mostly in a traditional subsistence and barter economy, only Tarawa and Kiritimati can be considered as full participants in the money economy.


Though biomass used for cooking and crop drying provides around 25% of the gross national energy production, Kiribati is highly dependent on petroleum imports for electricity generation for urban areas, land transport, sea transport and air transport. Though solar power is a significant energy source for the outer islands, overall it produces less than 1% of the total energy used by Kiribati.

In 2003 about 4.9 ML of petrol, 2 ML of kerosene and 9 ML of ADO was delivered to Kiribati customers.

Tarawa electricity demand in 2003 was 55% government, 30% domestic and 15% commercial. Since there is no significant tourist industry, commercial uses are mostly for stores and offices. JICA predicts a slowing of the 8% electricity growth rate to 3% over the next decade but the PIREP team considers this too low and estimates a 4.5% growth for that period with the rate of demand growth on Kiritimati higher than that on Tarawa. With 2003 generation on Tarawa 15.9 GWh, that means a use of around 4.4 ML of ADO for electricity production. Production figures for Kiritimati were not available but generation is a fraction of that of Tarawa.

In 2003, at least 500 outer island households used solar energy for lighting and operating radios and other small appliances. The SEC operated about 325 of them and the rest were installed privately. By the end of 2005 with the completion of the EU outer islands electrification project, the number will have reached more than 2000 with most of them operated by the SEC. Typical installations include a 100 Wp panel and 100 Ah battery.

Since almost all the GHG emissions occur on the urban islands, any reduction in GHG emissions will have to be through energy efficiency improvements or the use of grid connected renewable energy systems. Easily the largest potential for GHG reduction is the conversion from diesel fuel to biofuels based on coconut oil. The team estimates that as much as 85% of ADO used for electricity in 2013 could be offset by the use of biofuels and another 15% by solar and wind. Since the use of electricity on a per-capita basis is quite low, it seems unlikely that energy efficiency measures would save more than 10% of electricity use (most of that by government) and 5% of transport use by 2013.

Feasibility Study - Could Coconut Oil be a solution to Kiritimati Island's Energy Security Problem?

The PIGGAREP Support

The PIGGAREP activities identified for Kiribati will build on 4 key initiatives: (1) Government of Italy and PIC Cooperation Programme , (2) EU EDF 10, (3) Solar Energy Company Ltd and (4) the UNDP Multi-country Office in Suva, Fiji.

1) Government of Italy and PIC Cooperation Programme
Kiribati has signed the communiqué but has not submitted its proposals.

2) EU EDF 10

The Financing Agreement was signed in 2007. Under EDF 10, the following specific objective will be pursued with a Renewable Energy allocation of € 4,100,000

  • to increase power production from renewable energy sources and
  • to improve the overall policy framework of the energy sector

This budget is proposed to be distributed as follows:

  • Equipment: €2,744,000
  • Training, Installation and Storage, and Technical Assistance: €950,000
  • Mid-term review & end-of-project evaluation: €160,000
  • Contingencies (6%): €246,000
  • The €2,744,000 for equipment could be distributed as follows:
  • Additional 800 to 1,000 SHS 100Wp: €1,200,000
  • Between 200 and 250 larger PV systems (300 Wp): €600,000
  • Between 20 and 40 community halls: €90,000
  • Electrifying 4 secondary schools and one island council with micro-grids and offering computer labs to the schools: €600,000
  • Setting up service centre in Kiritimati Island with related services: €94,000
  • Equipment for grid connected solar array: €100,000

In August 2008, SOPAC has assisted Kiribati with the stakeholder consultations on the draft Energy Policy.

3) Kiribati Solar Energy Company (KSEC)

The KSEC is about to receive 4,1 million euros of new funding from the European Union EDF10 for the expansion of the installed capacity from 250,000 Wp to around 500,000 Wp. As a result, the average installed capacity per island is going to be 28,000 Wp, half of which will be 100 Wp Solar Home Systems (or around 140 units per island) and the other half are expected to be slightly larger PV systems to be installed in schools, churches, community houses and businesses. As a result, the percentage of houses in the outer islands with access to electricity services will increase from 34% to 52%.

With the current administrative set-up, which centralizes all the data entry at the headquarters, it is going to be extremely difficult for the KSEC to manage the newly installed capacity. This is why before the next project is implemented, the KSEC needs to be able to have the island and village technicians directly entering and accessing technical, financial and logistics data.

KSEC is therefore working on designing a web based software application (RESCO Manager III) for the installation and management of renewable energy equipment and thus contribute to the expansion of rural electrification projects.

RESCO Manager III will be made available in open source and public domain will greatly assist the expansion of renewable energy service companies (RESCOs) in the PICs and worldwide and thus promote renewable energy. Once migrated to open source, any RESCO will be able to access the code (known as open source ), and change it in order to suit any requirement without having to pay a license or contract to the company and consultants that originally designed and programmed it (known as public domain ). The new release will be easily downloadable through several websites on the Internet.

This will be a joint effort between PIGGAREP, REP-6, EU EDF 8 & 9 and UNDP. PIGGAREP will be the leading player in this effort covering 40% of the budget. PIGGAREP support will be in the areas of project management, programming application, preparing the Help File and the testing and the implementation of RESCO Manager 3.


The UNDP Multi Country Office in Suva is at the final stages of approving a Maintaining Renewable Energy Systems in Kiribati through Technical Training Project for USD 35,000.

Download: PIGGAREP Kiribati factsheet

Letters of Confirmation
Biofuel FS in Kiritimati Island 221111
Biofuel FS in Kiritimati Island 231210
RE developments in Kiribati 100609

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