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Development Account Projects

Supporting the development of low carbon technologies for resilient green economies in small island developing States


As the world’s population grows and consumption and production increase, natural resource management becomes critical to survival. Although climate change is currently seen as the most stressful force on Earth, finite oil reserves and water availability are immediate looming constraints. In this context, small island developing States provide a small-scale version of the natural resource management threats facing human beings. They are also particularly vulnerable owing to limited or fragmented pools of technical capacity and finances, and will be strongly impacted by sea-level rise, drought and climate change.
Although conventional technologies for adapting mainland applications exist, small island developing States need more capacity to evaluate new system-level integrated approaches. The technologies and systems proposed by the project are largely familiar to local populations. At the same time, they represent a new configuration and scale of use. Once demonstrated, seawater cooling, underwater compressed air energy storage, electric transport and advanced grid management would create demand for sustainable local markets for hardware sourced in the region.
For example, while seawater desalination technology is being installed in some islands already, desalination processes require heat or electricity and most energy in small island developing States comes from imported diesel. Diesel not only is a major drain on the economy but also exposes countries to price risks that are difficult to manage as well as to atmospheric pollution and oil spills.
Thus, small island developing States present an excellent opportunity for international cooperation to demonstrate advanced system-level integration and management strategies in support of green economies. The project will provide technical options and capacity development support for a switch of the electrical energy use from fossil fuel to renewable energy in two pilot small island developing States, while accommodating increasing demands for freshwater production and energy to service population growth. It will address capacity gaps of national institution project partners through capacity development for energy system management and technical innovation, using common off-the-shelf components of energy systems.
While much work is being done generally in small island developing States on renewable energy and energy efficiency, new components from this project will be smart grids and energy storage. These key components will allow solar and wind energy to meet fluctuating energy demand. In addition, water desalination can take place when there is excess energy available. Compressed air energy storage, which is operating commercially in some developed countries, is being adapted to medium underwater depth and is available in close proximity to many small island developing States. The two pilot projects will be selected based on suitable prospects for impact. The project will utilize the technical, human and other resources available in these countries and will draw on the existing knowledge, skills and capacity within implementing entities.


To enhance the capacities of small island developing States to transform energy use to low carbon intensity while accommodating increasing demands for fresh water production and energy to support resilient green economies

Expected accomplishments:

  • Increased capacity of pilot small island developing States to formulate integrated assessments of energy, water and waste systems with scenarios of demand growth and low carbon intensity
  • Increased capacity of national institutions in pilot small island developing States to use technical options, policies and financial planning to achieve low carbon renewable energy targets

Implementation status:

In progress.