Japan provides an additional $2.2 million to PPUC for sustainable energy
On August 8th, during the signing ceremony at the Embassy of Japan of a $2.2 million additional grant for “The Project for the Development of Power Transmission Network”, H.E. ORIKASA Hiroyuki, Ambassador of Japan to Palau, expressed his respect to the Government and people of Palau for their continued efforts to achieve their commitment to generate 100% of their energy from renewable sources by 2050.
Ambassador Orikasa and Hon. Gustav N. Aitaro, Minister of State of Palau, signed an exchange of notes for this additional grant, followed by a grant agreement signed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Palau Chief Representative KOBAYASHI Ryutaro and Hon. Charles I. Obichang, Minister of Public Infrastructure & Industries. The signing was witnessed by the representatives of the Government and the people of Palau, including Mr. Frank Kyota, Chief Executive Officer of PPUC. The additional funding will be allocated to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure & Industries and the Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) to reinforce the power transmission network and the use of sustainable energy sources.
The initial grant for the “The Project for the Development of Power Transmission Network”, valued at JPY 2,140 million, approximately $15.3 million, was signed in Japan in September 2022 at the Summit Meeting witnessed by H.E. KISHIDA Fumio, Prime Minister of Japan and H.E. Surangel Whipps, Jr., President of the Republic of Palau with the objective of improving the sustainability of the power supply on the islands of Babeldaob and Koror. In response to President Whipps’ earnest requests, on behalf of the people of Palau, the Government of Japan decided to provide this additional funding to Palau.
“Whether this project will be successful or not will have a direct impact on the daily lives of everyone in Palau. Therefore, as Ambassador of Japan, I promise accountability and transparency to both the people of Japan and the people of Palau on the energy projects contributing towards Palau’s national target of 45% renewable energy by 2025, including this project, together with each staff of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure & Industries and the PPUC” said Ambassador Orikasa.
Palau has relied on electricity generated by diesel power as its main energy source, which has contributed to two major challenges. The first challenge is the need to provide clean, secure, and affordable energy to the people of Palau in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. The second is to respond to climate change through adaptation and risk mitigation by reducing greenhouse gases from the production and use of such energy. To this end, the Government of Palau, particularly the Ministry of Public Infrastructure & Industries and the PPUC, with the support of donors such as Japan, is accelerating its efforts to shift to renewable energy sources, mainly solar power.
The power transmission network is the backbone of a sustainable system that uses energy from both renewable sources and diesel power plants to ensure that 45% of Palau’s energy comes from renewable sources by 2025. Without this power transmission network and its proper maintenance, it would be impossible to connect the people of Palau with diesel power plant, solar power plant, substations, and transmission lines.
Signing the Grant Agreement, Minister Obichang, said: “Japan has been at the forefront of every sector in Palau… we thank the government of Japan for being with us all this time.”
According to JICA, Japan has been providing assistance to Palau’s energy sector for decades. Some of its assistance to improve Palau’s electricity supply dates back to the 1980’s, and examples of such programs include: “Project for Introduction of Clean Energy by Solar Electricity Generation System”; “Solar Powered Desalination Project in the State of Peleliu in Palau” ; and “Project for Enhancement of Power Generation Capacity in the Urban Area in the Republic of Palau”, to name a few.
Japan has also sent various Japanese experts over the decades to provide people-to-people sustainable assistance to respond to the needs that cannot be met by simply building facilities and providing equipment.
In concluding his speech, Ambassador Orikasa said, “There is a Palauan proverb that says ’If you give a friend a fish, it will feed them for a day.’ If you teach a friend how to fish, it will feed them for the rest of their lives. I believe that the Palauan ancestors want to teach us that all success requires hard work and knowledge, not money. So please let us work hard, sweat and laugh together with all the people of Palau, as we have done so in mutual respect and trust throughout our countries’ more than 200 years of history, because we all have a role to play in building a more sustainable future for our children.”