FIJI has to find innovative ways to reduce fossil fuel imports said Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor Barry Whiteside, speaking to students and guests at the Crest Fiji Agriculture Show 2012 financial literacy day celebrations on Thursday at Churchill Park in Lautoka.
With domestic mineral fuel imports accounting for approximately 25 per cent of total retained imports annually, Mr Whiteside said reliance on fossil fuels had to be reduced.
"Given the hikes and volatility in international crude oil prices, the need to lessen our dependence on mineral fuels is critical. Policy development, macro monitoring as well as creating greater public awareness and support for projects involving renewable energy, are thus essential to rein in Fiji's high fossil fuel usage and import bill," he said.
Mr Whiteside said apart from the economic issues and costs to the country borne from the high price of fuel, environmental costs to the country also had to be taken into account.
"The associated environmental cost also has a direct impact on the economic wellbeing of our country. In this regard, investment in renewable and sustainable energy is important to mitigate all the allied risks," he said.
Mr Whiteside added that the RBF in conjunction with government remained committed to promoting local value-adding as a means to increase energy conservation in Fiji.
"The Reserve Bank and the government are also promoting local value adding, which basically means using our own local resources wherever and whenever we can.
"This also means that we work towards conserving energy and developing and supporting greater use of renewable energy sources such as hydro, solar, biomass, bio-diesel and wind farms, where feasible," he said.