In a bid to combat climate change, the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM), a Japanese-based system aimed at cooperating with countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is looking to pave the way for low-carbon tech in Palau, such as solar energy and electric vehicles.
Faced with what present and past leaders have dubbed as the “existential threat of climate change”, Palau has adopted a Nationally Determined Contribution (NCD) goal of 45 percent renewable energy by 2025, along with a 22 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from its 2005 level.
“We certainly want to reduce [fossil fuel] emissions,” said Mr. Gerald Tulop, Energy Specialist at the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce (MPIIC) at a webinar for JCM implementation last month. “We want to be part of the global effort in continuing to address climate change through renewable energy.”
The Ministry of the Environment in Japan has launched JCM Model Projects, in order to financially support carbon-reduction projects in partner countries like Palau. Since 2013, a variety of JCM projects have been implemented in Palau, most of which have been installations of solar power systems. However, representatives from various environmentally-focused agencies in Japan such as the Global Environment Centre Foundation (GEC) are examining ways to implement other low-carbon technologies successfully used in other countries in Palau, such as CNG-diesel hybrid public buses, and waste-to-energy plants.
Participants in the webinar, which included representatives from Palau and Japan, identified traffic congestion, especially posed by tourism, as one of the leading causes of carbon emissions in Palau, and suggested introducing electric vehicles such as EV trikes and buses into the tourism and waste transportation sectors.
Mr. Clement Gbewonyo, Maintenance Manager at Western Caroline Trading Company (WCTC), suggested that JCM build a solar power plant to use as a charging station for electric cars to encourage importation of electric vehicles from Japan.
According to Mr. Gbewonyo, WTCT worked with the JCM Financing Program to install solar panel systems on a number of its buildings, including ACE Hardware at T-Dock, the Central Warehouse in Malakal, Desekel Building in Ngerbeched, and most recently the Koror Shopping Center. The switch from fossil fuel to renewable energy reportedly reduced the company’s carbon emissions by 1,567 metric tons between 2013 and 2019, lessening the environmental footprint and also money spent on diesel.
Mr. Ken Sugiyama at Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) said that the installment of rooftop solar panels is becoming more common in Palau, with many small-scale projects, including schools and individual homes in Sonsorol State, looking to implement these renewable energy systems in the coming years. However, he added that, because of the small scale of many of these projects, securing finances is often difficult.
“A lot of potential customers to sign up with JCM are challenged by securing finances to build these solar panels on their premises,” said Mr. Suguiyama.
In response, representatives from GEC suggested the use of “bundling”, or coordinating smaller projects into one project for cost efficiency, before looking to secure finances.

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