Pacific Island Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy Project (PIGGAREP)

Sub-regional Level

Pacific Island Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy Project (PIGGAREP)


09 March 2012



Capacity BuildingResearch and Development





United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-Global Environment Facility (GEF)


Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment (SPREP); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Supporters / Donors

Global Environment Facility (GEF)-Trust Fund

Description of Intervention

PICs are among the most vulnerable countries in the world to the adverse effects of climate change - the very existence of some PICs is threatened by climate change. Climate Change is a result of the concentration of GHGs like CO2 in the atmosphere. CO2 is released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burnt.

While the PICs continue to rely heavily on fossil fuels and only 30% of the population on average has access to electricity, they also have some of the highest renewable energy (RE) potential per capita. RE can reduce the PICs' dependence on fossil fuel thereby reducing the growth rate of GHG emissions from fossil fuel use. In addition, it can provide cleaner, more reliable and cost-effective energy services that are needed for sustainable development of the PICs. However, its development has been hindered by many factors. The PIGGAREP is a product of a Global Environment Facility (GEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-funded preparatory exercise, the Pacific Islands Renewable Energy Project (PIREP).

The PIREP was completed in 2006 and the implementation of the PIGGAREP commenced in 2007. The global environment and development goal of PIGGAREP is the reduction of the growth rate of GHG emissions from fossil fuel use in the PICs through the removal of the barriers to the widespread and cost-effective use of feasible RE technologies. The specific objective of the project is the promotion of the productive use of RE to reduce GHG emission by removing the major barriers to the widespread and cost-effective use of commercially viable renewable energy technologies. The successful implementation of the PIGGAREP is estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 30% by 2015 as compared to that in the business as Usual scenario.

Problems to be Addressed

The PIGGAREP project, however, faces daunting challenges from a geographical point of view. It is also a relatively small project, with its implementation spread across several years, and across eleven Pacific Island countries (PICs). Without very careful prioritisation of its efforts, it is likely that the project’s resources will be dissipated on activities that don’t materially contribute to the project’s objectives, over technologies that can’t compete, and over too many countries and agencies. Instead of focusing on this kind of prioritisation, however, the PIGGAREP project is also being used to fund a variety of energy policy and related activities that appear to have little direct relevance to the project’s stated objectives (e.g. larger energy sector information gathering and capacity building), notwithstanding their potential larger policy value.


This project is aimed at reducing the growth rate of GHG emissions from fossil fuel use in the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) through the widespread and cost-effective use of their renewable energy (RE) resources.


The specific objective of the project is the promotion of the productive use of RE to reduce GHG emissions by removing the major barriers to the widespread and cost-effective use of commercially viable renewable energy technologies.

How It Fits into the EbA Concept

The PIGGAREP project has direct linkages to international, regional and national projects and programmes. These include UNDP''s Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) activities, including the current Asia-Pacific regional environment and energy programmes.

UNDP’s sub-regional office in Apia, Samoa, covers the area of energy and environment through the implementation of a number of past, ongoing and planned regional projects, including the PIREP and earlier on, the PICCAP–a regional CC Enabling Activities initiative that covered 10 PICs. That regional project was executed and coordinated through the PICs regional Climate Change, Climate Variability and Sea Level Rise Programme, housed at SPREP. This programme deals with strengthening the capacity of PICs to deal with the challenges of climate change, including meteorology, adaptation, legal and policy advise and GHG mitigation, including Ozone Depleting Substances.

The project is expected to result in a reduction of 2 million tonnes of CO2 over the next ten years. While marginal from a global perspective, this would be significant in the context of PIC GHG emissions. At the same time, it is difficult to realistically assess the project’s performance in this regard. First, a substantial chunk of these 2 million tonnes of reductions is likely to result over the next ten years from RE facilities implemented in PICs regardless of this project’s outcome. Second, the Project Brief suggests that this it could reduce PIC GHG emissions by as much as 70% from a business as usual baseline by 2020.

As discussed elsewhere in this review, the scale and funding of this project appears completely inadequate to accomplishing such a lofty outcome. While RET deployment is not without potential environmental impacts, it is unlikely that the project as described here will result in environmental damage.

Results / Outputs

PIGGAREP consists of various activities whose outputs will contribute to the removal of the major barriers to the widespread utilisation of renewable energy technologies.
Some of the expected outcomes are:
• Improved knowledge about RE resources potential and increase in the number of successful commercial RE applications on the ground;
• Expansion of the market for RET applications; 
• Enhancement of institutional capacity to design and implement RE; 
• Improvement of the availability of funding for existing and new RE projects; 
• Strengthened legal and regulatory structures in the energy and environmental sectors; and 
• Increased awareness and knowledge about RE among key stakeholders.

Lessons Learned

Lack of staff and its impact
A key constraint to progress is the lack of staff and resources in government departments. The CBDAMPIC country co-coordinators have been frequently obliged to work on matters that are not directly contributing to the CBDAMPIC project. This is an inherent constraint that has been identified from the onset, and lead government agencies have been notified accordingly. This involvement has certainly helped with government awareness and mainstreaming, but it has also contributed to the delay in implementation of project outputs.

Project finances at national level
There is a clear need to seriously strategise well in advance on the routes that need to be taken at the national level to address financial procedures. In some pilot countries, project funds are treated as government funds and are therefore being subjected to stringent administrative government bureaucracies. Project managers at the regional and national level need to anticipate procedural issues well in advance to be able to take measures that will improve the situation. The lack of staff at the Ministries of Finances of government departments as well as the lack of knowledge of procedures also does not help. Delays in processing of payments and purchase orders as well as wrong advice given to national project coordinators have stalled project activities and in several cases have seriously contributed to delay in implementation. Project duration too short The CBDAMPIC three-year project period is too short for proper implementation of adaptation projects. Given the remoteness of some of the PICTs, the vast physical geography of individual countries interspersed with oceans and the inconsistency of shipping and telecommunication services, accessing project pilots is quite a challenge. Future adaptation project periods need to cater for these challenges especially when working with multiple pilots to ensure timely implementation and effective completion of activities.

Challenges of a participatory CVandA process
The CBDAMPIC project uses the bottom-up approach, and therefore requires consultations with communities in almost all aspects of the project. Community ownership is crucial therefore they need to be consulted in most aspects of the pilot project activities. These consultations take time, preparation, resource mobilisation, and can lead to disappointments if a community cannot receive the team due to prior commitments. Conversely, the project works on strict timelines that have been agreed upon well in advance by the executing agencies and the donor. The team of experts that makes up the Core CVandA Team comprises officials of government ministries who are at times are not available for CVandA work. These are examples of challenges that participatory CVandAs can face. Careful balancing and advance planning are essential for success.

Upscaling / Outreach Activities

Component 1: Technical Capacity Building and Technology Support  
A. Regional Renewable Energy Resource Assessment
• Development of a RE Resource Assessment Methodology;
• Conduct of RE Resource Survey;
• Design and Development of a Regional RE Resource Database;
• Development of a RE Monitoring and Simulation Methodolog; and
• Capacity Building Programme on RE Resource Assessment.

B. Technical Support
• Evaluation of the Viability and Requirements for the Development of Local RE Service Industry;
• Conduct of Training Course on the Design, Feasibility Evaluation, Operation and Maintenance of RE Systems (electricity and non-electricity);
• Assessment of Other Value-Added Applications of RE Resources;
• RE System Utilisation Best Practices (electricity and non-electricity);
• Setting of Standards for RE Systems; and • Design and Initiation of a Sustainable RE System RandD Programme.

C. Renewable Energy Demonstration Projects
• Techno-economic Feasibility Analyses of Potential RE-based Energy Systems Projects;
• Identification and Evaluation of RET Application Demonstration Requirements;
• Courses of Actions for the Removal of Barriers to the Successful Implementation of RE Demonstration Projects;
• Establishment of Baseline Data for the RE Demonstration Sites;
• Design of RE Demonstration Projects;
• Monitoring and Evaluation of both New and Existing RE Demonstration Projects;
• Evaluation and Dissemination of the Results of the Demonstration Program; and
• Design of Sustainable Replication and Follow-up Programme for RE Development.

Component 2: Renewable Energy Market Development
• Supporting of Investment Project Development;
• Assessment of Local Capabilities for RE Services;
• Assessment of the Viability of Local Manufacturing of RE System Equipment and/or Components;
• Introduction of a “One-Stop-Shop” Service for RE Market Services;
• Training Course on RE Projects and RE-based Livelihood/Productivity Projects Financing;
• Technical Assistance on Livelihood Support;
• Design and Adoption of Model Fiscal Incentives for RE Investments;
• Promotion of Bulk RE System Equipment/Component Purchasing;
• Development and Promotion of ESCO-led RE System Projects; and
• Establishment of Market for RESCO Services.

Component 3: RE Institutional Strengthening
• Strengthening of Energy Offices in PICs;
• Establishment of RE Policy Committees;
• Conduct of a Detailed Study on Energy Supply and Consumption in the Pacific;
• Conduct of Integrated Energy Planning; and
• Development of a RE Planning Model.

Component 4: RE Financial Support
• RE Business Financing Capacity Building;
• Assistance for Accessing Local Financing in PICs;
• Establishment of RE Financing Facility in PICs;
• Design and Implementation of Smart RE Financing Scheme in PICs;
• Service Provision to RE Financing Applicants;
• Evaluation of the RE Financing Assistance Programme;
• Financing Schemes Review; and
• Sustainable Follow-up Programme Design.

Component 5: RE Policy and Regulatory Support
• Formulation and Implementation of National Energy Policy;
• Conduct of RE Promotion Workshops;
• Policy Reviews on RE Applications in PICs;
• Evaluation of the National Energy Policy Implementation;
• Conduct of RE Policy Review; and
• Legislation on RE System Equipment/Components Standards.

Components 6: RE Information and Awareness Enhancement
• Establishment of RE Information Centres;
• Establishment and Implementation of an Integrated RE Information Exchange Service;
• RE Advocacy and Promotion;
• Information Campaigns on RE Technology (RET) Applications in PICs;
• RE Website Development;
• Design and Conduct of a RE Technology Education Program; and
• Design and Implementation of RE Training Programme.