Increasing investments in renewable energy projects can help the Maldives to accelerate economic recovery post COVID-19 and create more jobs, according to the World Bank.
Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, said: “The Maldives has enjoyed high growth rates in the past few years. But the shocks stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic have upended the Maldives development trajectory and severely affected the Maldivian people.
“Focusing on renewable energy can prove to be a good investment at this time – creating jobs and improving the country’s ability to rebound stronger, when opportunities open up.”
Maldivians have enjoyed universal access to energy since 2008, but heavily relied on imported diesel.
The heavy reliance on diesel for energy generation and isolated island-based grid networks have increased the cost of electricity.
Despite the government subsidising electricity, costs remain high.
According to the new World Bank Maldives Development Update: In Stormy Seas report, the Maldives needs to attract more private sector investments in renewables especially solar PV projects.
While the required upfront investments are high, investing in renewables can help the Maldives to lower its cost of electricity service, fuel import bill and subsidy expenditure, reduce carbon emissions, and create new jobs.
Florian Blum and Pui Shen Yoong, lead authors of the report, adds: “The COVID-19 crisis illustrates the urgency of strengthening the Maldives’ resilience to external shocks. While the crisis may have hampered efforts to increase its share of renewable energy in electricity generation, this remains a crucial goal.”
Joonkyung Seong, World Bank senior energy specialist and author of the special focus section, reiterates: “Scaling up these investments will require greater participation from the private sector, which can be encouraged through power purchasing agreements, net metering and improved system planning.”