$1 billion promised for green energy projects in Pacific islands

New Zealand and other major international donors have promised more than $1 billion for sustainable energy projects in Pacific island nations.

Most Pacific countries spend about 10 per cent of their domestic income on importing diesel to generate electricity. Source: 1 NEWS

The commitment has come at a Pacific Energy Conference in Auckland today which looked at how the region, hit by rising sea levels, could lead the world in climate change initiatives.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully says investments and funding announced today will support Polynesia to achieve more than 50 per cent renewable energy by 2024, provide access to electricity for an estimated one million people in Melanesia and help other countries in the region to double their renewable energy generation.

Investors include conference co-hosts New Zealand and the European Union, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank Group, Japan, United Arab Emirates, and Australia.

"For our part, New Zealand has agreed to provide a further $100 million to energy projects in nine Pacific countries, bringing our total contribution to $220 million," Mr McCully said.

The $635 million committed at the 2013 Pacific Energy Summit has translated into over $900 million of investments across 70 projects, Mr McCully says.

"In the same way, I hope to see the $1 billion of commitments announced today increase as opportunities for leverage become apparent, and as the ambition of partners grows."

Since 2013, New Zealand and the EU have partnered to deliver renewable energy projects in Tuvalu, Samoa, the Cook Islands, and Kiribati. 

EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, has welcomed the expansion of this partnership.

''I am particularly pleased to have signed today with New Zealand a Joint Declaration of Cooperation on a Pacific Partnership for Sustainable Energy. It signals our commitment to expand the scope of our close cooperation on renewable energy to benefit, among others, Tonga, Niue and Northern Pacific," Commissioner Mimica said.

"Furthermore this declaration paves the way for the future expansion of the successful EU-New Zealand partnership to fields such as climate change, in accordance with the framework established by the Paris Agreement, and sustainable agriculture, starting with Vanuatu."