Access to renewable energy in SIDS offers more than just energy – it represents a path to self-dependence, climate resilience, economic diversification, and improved quality of life. At the intersection of climate action, blue economies, and digital transformation is the equitable transition to clean, sustainable, and reliable energy, which will power the shift to a new development model in SIDS. UNDP’s vision is to catalyse unprecedented action and partnerships to accelerate the transition to renewable energy through systems changes that support inclusive green economies in SIDS.
SIDS have seized renewable energy as a key lever of development, resulting in some of the most ambitious targets in the world. As of October 2022, all 40 SIDS that have ratified the Paris Agreement have also submitted an NDC, and 29 SIDS have updated their NDCs again since September 2020. National policy targets in SIDS are even more ambitious than some NDCs; if all national targets were achieved by 2030, total renewable power capacity in SIDS would more than double to reach 13-GW, with many SIDS planning to reach 100 percent energy generation from renewables.
And yet, despite political will and abundant natural resources, SIDS require significant progress and support to truly unlock the transformative potential of renewables. To begin to reach the full potential of solar, wind, geothermal, and marine energy will need more than ambitious targets, but will necessitate the direct support of the international community. Over half of the targeted renewable energy capacity in SIDS has been shown to be conditional on international support through financing, technical assistance, capacity-building, and technology transfer. However, most of the transformation will come from within, and it is essential to acknowledge the central role of SIDS women and youth in advancing clean energy. The just energy transition in SIDS will be central to discussions at the 4th SIDS Conference in 2024, where a new agenda will be set for the next decade of development in SIDS.
This bulletin explores the significant progress towards SIDS’ renewable energy transition as well as the challenging but promising pathways ahead. Featured initiatives include the new carbon market mechanism in Vanuatu, a marine energy project developing in Tonga, prospects and advancements in ocean energy, and strategies for the energy revolution and SIDS' energy targets.
Read the full SIDS Bulletin 70.