September 4th, 2016
On Sunday, September 4, during the IUCN World Conservation Congress, leaders from American Samoa and the Kingdom of Tonga jointly affirmed and celebrated commitments to 100% renewable energy.
Last year, Hawaii set a binding goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045, becoming the first state in the United States to put itself on the road towards a carbon free future. This comes as other islands are making similar commitments and making achievements in renewable energy.
On Sunday, the Kingdom of Tonga joined the State of Hawaii and announced a new, post-Paris Climate Agreement commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2035. In addition, American Samoa announced that two of its islands will be 100% renewable this year.
“Islands share unique challenges as we seek to transition away from dirty fossil fuel to clean renewable power. These challenges—such as isolation and small energy systems—make islands the perfect leaders to demonstrate our clean energy future,” said Jeff Mikulina, Executive Director of the Blue Planet Foundation. “Islands are also disproportionately threatened by climate change. We see regional solidarity towards 100% renewable energy as a key step towards making the right choice for future generations.”
Standing with Hawaii, the Kingdom of Tonga announced a new 100% renewable energy goal.
“Tonga, like Hawaii and some of our fellow islanders, aims to have 100% renewable energy,” stated the Honorable Siaosi Sovaleni, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga. “Under our energy roadmap, and our newly approved climate change policy, we’re aiming, by 2020, for 50%, and by 2035, 100% renewable energy. One of the main reasons is, of course, to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and our emissions, but it also makes sense both economically and socially for Tonga to aim for 100%.”
In addition, American Samoa announced that two of their islands will be 100% renewable by the end of the year.
“On behalf of Governor Lolo Moliga, the Board of the American Samoa Power Authority, and the Territory of American Samoa, I am happy to announce that the Manu’a Islands of American Samoa will be provided with electricity 100% through renewable energy before the end of 2016,” stated Utu Abe Malae, Director of the American Samoa Power Authority. “Shipping diesel fuel from the main island of Tutuila to the Manu’a islands is fraught with risk—of oil spills and shipping interruptions. Renewable Energy will eliminate those risks as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions on our islands.”
Blue Planet Foundation, whose mission is to clear the path for 100% renewable energy, applauded the island leaders for committing to a clean energy future. After leading the campaign for Hawaii to adopt its 100% renewable energy goal, Blue Planet has engaged other islands in the conversation about setting a bold clean energy vision.
“On the road to 100% renewable, we are stronger together,” said Henk Rogers, Founder and Chairman of the Blue Planet Foundation. “Islands are perfect testbeds for the technologies, the policies, and the pathways forward in achieving 100% renewable energy. We applaud our Pacific Island neighbors for standing together in showing the globe what a sustainable energy future looks like.”
Nearly ten thousand conservation leaders from around the globe are gathering in Honolulu from September 1st through the 10th for the IUCN World Conservation Congress. It is the first time that the gathering—billed as “the Olympics of Conservation”—is being held in the United States in the organization’s 70-year history.
Left to right: Jeff Mikulina (Blue Planet Foundation), Utu Abe Malae (American Samoa Power Authority), Henk Rogers (Blue Planet Foundation), Honorable Siaosi Sovaleni (Kingdom of Tonga), Raya Salter (Imagine Power)