The Asian Development Bank and the Palau government on Dec. 1 signed a grant agreement amounting to USD$3 million to provide clean energy access to homes here.
The grant money comes from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, which according to an earlier press release from ADB, is a trust fund established in 2000 by the Government of Japan “to provide direct assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable group of ADB’s developing member countries while fostering long-term social and economic development.”
Present at the signing ceremony were Finance Minister Elbuchel Sadang, Claire Harvey, President/CEO of National Development Bank of Palau (NDBP) signed exchange of notes, witnessed by Ambassador Karasawa Akira, Mr. Tachihara Yoshikazu, JICA Palau Resident Representative, Ms. Leah C. Gutierrez, Director General ADB Pacific Department and other ADB officers.
The grant will be disbursed by NDBP through the form of low-interest loans, which will be provided to low-income and women-headed households for purchase and installation of rooftop solar panels and solar water heating for their homes, according to the Japan Embassy Facebook page.
NDBP said the money will then be part of a revolving fund to further assist households in clean energy efforts.
“This program is expected to decrease households’ expense on electricity and help Palau to achieve its ambitious clean energy target, 45% renewable energy by 2025.”
Minister Sadang and CEO Harvey thanked the Government of Japan for its funding and friendship, and stated that grant assistance is “valuable and timely because the project will assist people in a difficult situation when Palau is seriously affected by economic impacts of COVID-19.”
ADB said the project is first of its kind in the Pacific.
“This project, targeting disaster-resilient clean energy financing for low-income and women beneficiaries, is the first of its kind to be implemented in a Pacific developing country,” said Energy Specialist of ADB’s Pacific Department Rafayil Abbasov in a press statement in November.
“The project will have wider impacts through the demonstration of financial solutions to boost access to disaster-resilient clean energy and may be used as a model to replicate regionally.”
The ADB-supported Palau Disaster Resilient Clean Energy Financing Project will provide about 900 eligible low-income households and female borrowers access to affordable disaster-resilient clean energy financing.
Harvey said there is already interest coming from the people about the project. (B. Carreon)