MAJURO, Marshall Islands, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- Pacific island nations are on track to having half of their energy produced by renewable resources in the next five years, New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said here Friday.
The target was set at the Auckland Pacific Energy Summit in March when the implementation of renewable energy projects totaling 635 million NZ dollars (501.06 million U.S. dollars) was agreed.
In a report outlining progress to the Pacific Islands Forum in Majuro, McCully said one of the best ways New Zealand could assist Pacific island countries manage the challenges of climate change was to strengthen and diversify their economies, and the investment in renewables was the prime example of this.
"Importation of diesel for electricity operation costs Pacific countries 10 percent of GDP and 25 percent of their import bill. New Zealand recognizes that this is not sustainable, especially in a region where the potential for renewables is so great," McCully said in a published speech.
At the summit, McCully had proposed a target of taking the region from just 5 percent to 50 percent of power generation from renewable sources within the next five years.
"We are pleased to report that donors and development partners are delivering on this commitment, with more than 50 energy projects now being developed across the Pacific," McCully said.
The 44th Pacific Islands Forum summit is underway here, and at the top of the summit agenda is climate change.