Marshall Islands hybrid renewables power system

Client: Asian Development Bank
Location: Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands
Date: 2016–17

Developing investment opportunities for a renewable power system to provide secure and sustainable electricity in remote areas.

Background

Majuro Atoll is a large coral atoll in the Pacific, and is the largest city of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, with a population of about 28 000.

Entura was engaged to help increase Majuro’s renewable energy penetration to at least 20% by 2020, and improve supply side and network efficiency. This involved developing an environmentally, socially, financially, economically and technically feasible stream of energy projects. The project also involved investigating the utility’s operations and recommending improvements for greater long-term sustainability for the utility and Majuro’s economy through a reliable power supply. 

Solution

Our team began by understanding the current status of the utility, its assets and the regulatory environment. We then developed a strategic roadmap of projects which would help the utility transition in the future to a reliable system with renewable energy generation.

We also proposed and developed an advanced meter infrastructure project to enable the utility to reduce losses in the system.

Within the strategic roadmap of projects, Entura’s innovative approach solved two challenges: by proposing the installation of waste-to-energy technology on the island, a waste problem could be solved, as well as generating much-needed electrical energy and increasing the share of renewable energy in the generation portfolio.

To enable the utility to operate sustainably and maintain its present and future assets, Entura recommended changes to its operations, financial management, collection of revenue from customers, and tariff structure. With the new progressive tariff system proposed by Entura, the utility could provide a social subsidy to poorer households, while stimulating all consumers to conserve energy and introduce energy efficiency measures.

Outcome

The advanced meter infrastructure project was signed and endorsed in December 2017, with construction planned for 2018. Through this project, specialists in utility operations and finance will be embedded into the Majuro utility for six months to help improve its operations.

Entura has supported its client, the Asian Development Bank, in discussions with donor agencies interested in investing in the Marshall Islands and has supported efforts to coordinate stakeholders and future projects. Pre-feasibility studies for the projects proposed by Entura have shown favourable rates of return. The projects await future funds from international investors to progress Majuro on its path to 20% renewable energy and a more sustainable and reliable power supply.

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