Fiji Time: 11:46 PM on Monday 20 November

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Motor vehicle numbers up, Fiji misguided — report

Avinesh Gopal In Berlin
Monday, May 22, 2017

FIJI has been increasing its number of motor vehicles at about five per cent per annum from at least the 1970s.

In addition, the engine size distribution is moving in the wrong direction for energy and emissions savings, according to the country's Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

What was known as the intended NDC for many countries towards helping fight climate change is now known as the Nationally Determined Contribution.

A copy of the country's NDC was made available to The Fiji Times in Berlin, Germany at a climate change training workshop for journalists.

Fiji's NDC says it is likely that the infrastructure that has been needed to accommodate such an increase in vehicle numbers has been a drain on national resources that was now locking in development to this transport mode.

"This path makes mitigation in this area difficult and more or less constrained to fuel switching (either biofuels or electricity) rather than mode changing, for instance, to improved public transport systems," it says.

Also, it says that Fiji has many opportunities that have been identified for transferring most, if not all, of its electricity generation to renewable options.

In this regard, the relatively high installed capacity of hydro of around 120MW presents itself as a large scale storage facility for intermittent renewable inputs to be fed to the main grid.

Wind has also been trialled at the Butoni site in Sigatoka, with mixed results.

Large scale biomass production is also an important option that is part of the mix from the Fiji Sugar Corporation and timber producers.

In addition, small scale biomass is a distinct possibility, according to the NDC.

"Geothermal has been identified as early as the 1960s ,but because of the relatively small nominal capacity of individual sites, this technology has not progressed to large scale implementation maybe incompatible with the time scale presented by climate change," it says.

"In addition, other sources such as wave and ocean energy and geothermal energy have also been investigated over the past decades but are not close to implementation."

The NDC says it is clear that large-scale hydro in Fiji has been successful and that the technology has been transferred relatively easily and implemented with considerable competence by the Fiji Electricity Authority.

In recent years, the Monasavu system has been added to with another relatively large system at Nadarivatu.

Unfortunately, the NDC says, solar PV (photovoltaic) does not have as good capacity factor as hydro and so far a comparable kwh output around five times the installed capacity needs to be put in place.

"Nevertheless, solar PV is now becoming cheaper, almost by the month, and large-scale systems are now economically viable in most locations in the world with good solar regimes.

"In addition, such systems work best in conjunction with a fast switching stored generation option such as hydro schemes."

Fiji's NDC says energy efficiency has also been identified as a relatively low cost easily implemented option, however one that has not been seriously implemented in the country for various reasons, including financial constraints.

"Energy efficiency will become more important as higher cost renewable resources are employed but the law of physics always limits improvements if they are unlikely to give the reductions needed for complete decarbonisation," says Fiji's NDC.

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