Access to electricity | $1.5m USTDA grant to support 75 communities

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Congratulations all around… from left, Helena McLeod (Deputy Director-General and Head of the Green Growth Planning & Implementation), Shiri Gounder (Permanent Secretary of Finance), US ambassador Marie Damour and Professor Nathan Johnson at the signing of the US grant to GGGI and the Ministry of Finance in Suva, on Wed 17 May 2023. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

About 75 communities that lack access to reliable and affordable electricity in isolated areas will be able to benefit from a $1.5 million grant provided by the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

The 75 communities have been identified to be recipients of the mini-grid rural electrification program which is in line with reaching Fiji’s dual goals of 100 per cent rural electrification and renewable power generation by 2030.

While delivering her opening remarks on Wednesday, US Ambassador to Fiji Marie Damour said support from the United States, Government of Fiji along with public and private sector partners, would create market opportunities for investors in clean energy and support affordable energy access for rural communities.

“This initiative represents the beginning of a larger transition for Fiji and for the entire blue Pacific region and the government of the United States are proud to be part if this,” she said.

Finance Ministry permanent secretary Shiri Gounder said they were confident that USTDA’s feasibility study, together with the consortium’s contributions would bring successful outcomes and clean, sustainable growth.

“So far the city has managed to connect almost 96 per cent of our population and there is a small community of four per cent that is in very isolated areas,” Mr Gounder said.

“This kind of support from development partners that is critical for us to not only increase the electrical connections but move towards clean energy.”

The grant was awarded to the Ministry of Finance in which they selected Arizona State University’s (ASU), Laboratory for Energy And Power Solutions (LEAPS), Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), and XENDEE Corporation to carry out the study.