|Energy as a Tool for Sustainable Development for African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (EC - UNDP, 1999, 89 p.)|
|CHAPTER 3: SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES|
It is important that all programmes take into account the major development issues that will confront island states in the coming decade, including:
· rapid urbanisation;
· increased population growth;
· urban unemployment;
· deteriorating environmental conditions (waste disposal, pollution);
· impacts caused by climate change (enhanced level of natural disasters, sea-level rise, land degradation, etc.);
· increased frequency of natural hazards;
· rising energy prices for commercial fuels;
· increased energy demand;
· continuing dependence on foreign assistance; and
· vulnerability of ACP SIDS to changes in global energy prices, and external political and economic situations.
Throughout the region, transmission and distribution losses are high and power and fuel cutoffs are frequent. The limited or scarce indigenous commercial energy resources and the difficulties of securing energy supplies, coupled with the shortage of trained human resources, are thought to exacerbate the many constraints in the economic and social development of island states. The introduction and deployment of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures that harness, in a sustainable way, natural island resources, can play an increasingly important role in meeting the energy requirements of island states, and thus smoothing their path to development.
"The transport sector accounts for the greatest commercial energy consumption in most ACP SIDS; in the Pacific it accounts for 70% of all imported petroleum products."
Traditional biomass fuel (fuelwood and crop residues) is the main source of energy for the majority of island states, and its principal end uses are for cooking and crop drying. Accessible supplies of fuelwood are becoming increasingly scarce in some areas, however, because of the pressures placed on land resources by agriculture, timber production, and urbanisation.
Petroleum products often account for more than 12% of imports, and are used mainly for transport and electricity generation. The transport sector accounts for the greatest commercial energy consumption in most ACP SIDS; in the Pacific it accounts for 70% of all imported petroleum products (UN, 1994). The share of imported petroleum used for electricity generation varies widely among the island states, from less than 25% to almost 100%; the average is more than a third. Total electricity losses in the region are about 995 TWh (EIA, 1996) or 7% of the total electricity generated. It is crucial that efficient and reliable electricity distribution networks are put in place or improved throughout ACP SIDS.
There has been a gradual increase in the use of renewable energy technologies such as modernised biomass technologies, micro-hydro, PVs, solar thermal, and wind, but their contribution to the total energy mix is still minimal. The section "Renewable Energy Technologies and Resources"(p.66) describes the extent to which these technologies have been used in the region.
It is predicted that ACP SIDS will continue to be heavily dependent on petroleum fuels and biomass both in the short and medium term (UN, 1994). The detrimental impacts on the environment and the financial burden placed on island states through the current inefficient use of these fuels needs to be addressed through the application of appropriate technologies, national energy policies, and management measures.
Petroleum will remain the single most important commercial energy source for island states in the foreseeable future, despite the continuing attempts to develop alternative sources of energy. Petroleum products in most ACP SIDS are imported at some of the highest prices in the world, usually at costs that small island economies can ill afford. Between 1978 and 1981 petroleum fuels more than tripled in cost. Up to one-third of Jamaicas foreign exchange earnings were used to pay for imported fuel. Transporting fuel to remote stations in outer islands is also expensive and shipments are irregular. The Niuas islands in Tonga are serviced by a ship every six months. In addition, many of these outer islands are without wharves or jetties and fuel must be floated ashore in drums, which often results in spills and environmental damage (JICA, 1998).
Petroleum imports in Pacific SIDS are sourced primarily from Singapore refineries, but also from Australia and the USA, while in the Caribbean SIDS, petroleum imports are from Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, and/or Mexico. The remoteness and size of the ACP SIDS petroleum market makes service and transport expensive, and reduces the number of potential suppliers, minimising competition.
The total annual commercial energy consumption in ACP SIDS is 182,510 GWh. The level of variation in energy consumption ranges from 264 GWh in Vanuatu to 95,196 GWh in Trinidad and Tobago. Electricity consumption also varies considerably, from a mere 7 GWh in Kiribati to 5,696 GWh in Jamaica.
Coal is used only to a small extent in the larger countries like Jamaica and Fiji. Commercial biomass is used for electricity generation only for small rural power needs and by the sugar industry. Biomass feedstocks include bagasse from the sugar factories and residues from coconut plantations.
Fuelwood, charcoal, and bagasse are the main energy source for the largely subsistence island state communities. This traditional biomass is used mainly for household cooking and crop drying, particularly in rural households.
Surveys in the mid-1980s in Fiji showed that about 98% of rural homes and 49% of urban homes cook with fuelwood for some, if not all, of their meals. Surveys in various other Pacific SIDS have also revealed a high degree of fuelwood use in urban areas to supplement commercial cooking fuels such as kerosene and liquid petroleum gas. All fuelwood for cooking is obtained at no financial cost from surrounding vegetation cover, agricultural residues, and more recently from natural forests. Few island states have substantial vegetation cover and/or dedicated forestry plantations to sustain the growing fuelwood demands. At the current rate of population increase, the demand for fuelwood may outstrip the vegetation regeneration rate in many island states in the near future. Already, there are severe island-wide fuelwood shortages in some densely populated low-lying islands such as Funafuti in Tuvalu and Tongatapu in Tonga. In larger high islands, such as Viti Levu in Fiji or Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, the shortage is restricted to pockets of densely populated areas. There is an opportunity to develop dedicated sustainable forestry plantations using fast-growing indigenous plant species in most ACP SIDS to ensure a sustainable supply of fuelwood.
"Petroleum will remain the single most important commercial energy source for island states in the foreseeable future, despite the continuing attempts to develop alternative sources of energy."
The contribution of energy from renewable sources in ACP SIDS is increasing, although their share of total energy supply remains significantly below their potential. At present, around 25% of primary energy consumed in Barbados comes from renewable sources; this could increase to 50 to 75% by the year 2015, using mainly solar, biomass, and wind energy (CDB, 1997a). Most island states have abundant solar and ocean resources and considerable wind and hydropower potential. Many ACP SIDS also have potential geothermal resources. Given the remote location of many ACP SIDS, their low energy demands, and the high costs of oil imports, the development of renewable energy sources and energy efficient mechanisms is ideal. The potential for renewable energy technologies is explored in the section "Renewable Energy Technologies and Resources"(p.66).
Total energy consumption across the ACP SIDS increased gradually between 1982 and 1992, from about 7 million to 8.4 million tonnes of oil equivalent, an average annual increase of less than 2%. Pacific ACP countries are experiencing a growth in energy demand of around 6% per annum. Not all ACP SIDS have increased their total energy consumption. In fact, there have been more cases of declining per capita energy consumption, as increasing demand from expanding populations has outpaced energy supply. The average per capita electricity consumption in ACP SIDS of 840kWh per annum (CIA, 1996) is barely one tenth of the corresponding figure for OECD countries (see Figure 6).
Control of electricity demand through the targeted promotion of efficient end-use, demand-side management, and improved transmission and distribution electricity networks offer the least-cost, most secure, and environmentally benign means of satisfying the rapidly growing demands for electricity. This is recognised in many sustainable energy studies (Waide, 1994).
Energy demand for the transport sector is also increasing at a considerable rate. Efficient transport mechanisms are needed and the use of alternative fuels is worth exploring.