The World Bank has announced that 45,000 people in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu are set to get access to renewable energy.
In an announcement on Wednesday, the World Bank said its board of executive directors had approved $4 million for the Vanuatu Rural Electrification Project II, or VREP II, which will be co-funded by the Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program and the government of New Zealand.
The World Bank added that the project would partially subsidize solar home and micro grid systems for 8,400 households, and also contribute to the construction of five mini grid systems, which in turn would benefit 550 households. The systems will be able to power refrigerators, lights and office equipment, the World Bank said.
"The government of Vanuatu is working hard with the support of the World Bank to deliver affordable, reliable and renewable energy to 100 percent of the population by 2030," Ham Lini Vanuarora, Vanuatu's minister for climate change adaptation, said in a statement.
"Energy is crucial to our nation's continued development – boosting economic opportunities, allowing access to essential communications and information technology, and improving health services and education delivery, including in rural areas," he added.
Breaking the figures down, the World Bank said that VREP II would be financed via $2 million in credit and a $2 million grant from the World Bank's International Development Association fund; a grant of $6.77 million from the Climate Investment Funds' Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program; and $3.4 million from the government of New Zealand via the Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility.
"Access to electricity is a crucial part of building safer homes and communities, and creating new economic opportunities," Michel Kerf, country director for the World Bank in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, said.
"This project will deliver real benefits for people living in rural Vanuatu, and we are proud to be supporting the government of Vanuatu to help achieve 100 percent renewable access by 2030," Kerf added.
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