Connecting countries to climate technology solutions
English Arabic Chinese (Simplified) French Russian Spanish Yoruba


Official Name:
Republic of Vanuatu

National Designated Entity

Type of organisation:
Mrs. Esline Garaebiti
Director General
+678 22068

Energy profile

Vanuatu (2012)

Energy profile
Energy profile
Extent of network

A private company, UNELCO, operates concessions that supply power to Port Vila, Malekula, and Tanna. Another private company, Vanuatu Utilities and Infrastructure Ltd (VUI), has operated the Luganville concession since January 2011. VUI is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the international Pernix Group.Electricity elsewhere in Vanuatu is extremely limited, as about 73% of the population in Vanuatu is not connected to grid electricity. Some grid extension work is currently being carried out in urban areas through the Sarakata Special Reserve Fund. The very low electrification rates for rural areas have been attributed to the geographical isolation of many villages, the absence of sustainable operational and maintenance models, and high up-front costs on low rates of return on investment.Overall, approximately 61% of urban households and only 7% of rural households are electrified. There are a range of historical reasons for the low electrification rates, including a lack of historical government focus on increasing access. The concession contracts also play a role because concessionaires are prohibited from making connections outside their concession area without first receiving permission from the Government.

Renewable energy potential

HydropowerVanuatu has some hydro potential for supplying urban grids and small rural demands. Progress has been slow on rural hydropower use, primarily due to a lack of long-term monitoring data to support feasibility analysis, high up-front capital costs, and land access issues.Geothermal energyTwelve islands have thermal springs and possible geothermal potential, the best probably on Efate where two prospective sites have been identified and deep drilling has been recommended. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between UNELCO and Kuth Energy Ltd for the development of a potential 4 MW geothermal plant in the Port Vila region, with explorations having begun in 2009, and completion of the power plant scheduled for 2015 if tests are positive.Solar EnergySolar power has been used previously in Vanuatu in the form of Solar Home Systems (SHS) for rural electrification purposes. The dissemination of SHS is still being supported by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA). The technical potential of solar power in Vanuatu is relatively large, with annual average sunshine hours ranging from 2000 to 2300, at an average insolation of 6 kWh/m2/day.Wave energyIn the early 1990s, Oceanor of Norway monitored Vanuatu’s sea wave potential. Data from buoys suggest an average of 14.4kW per metre of wavefront off Efate. Satellite data suggest 9-20kW/m at various sites. If seawave energy were commercially available, Vanuatu could produce much of its demand (an estimated 22MW) from a few small plants. No assessment has yet been conducted on the potential for Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion in Vanuatu.Wind energyThere is very limited data on wind energy potential. A Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) project monitored wind speeds at an Efate site in the mid 1990s, indicating 5.0m/s average speed in 1995 and 4.2m/s in 1996, well below the 6m/s generally considered to be necessary for economic electricity production. Despite this, UNELCO has completed the construction of a 3 MW wind farm near Devil’s Point, connected to the Port Vila grid, with further monitoring and measurement activities being conducted for a second wind farm, also near Port Vila.Biomass/biofuelThe potential for significant wood-based power generation by sawmills, where residues are widely dispersed, is not promising.  There is very limited practical potential for biogas (methane from animal wastes) or energy from municipal wastes at landfills. There is considerable experience at using coconut oil as biofuel, replacing diesel fuel for electricity and transport.  In recent years before 2004, copra output was in principle sufficient to replace all diesel fuel imports. Currently, the Port Vila diesel generators are run on a 20% blend of coconut oil with diesel, and coconut oil is being used as a diesel replacement in small power grids, for example that of Port Orly. Discussions for the potential construction of a copra oil biodiesel refinery have been had, but financing for the project has been difficult to source.

Energy framework

Vanuatu Energy Roadmap In October 2011, the Vanuatu Energy Roadmap was launched. The Government, with the support of the World Bank, has initiated the development of the Vanuatu Energy Roadmap to lay the foundation for future energy sector policy and investment.  The Roadmap is a planning document that identifies the investment needs of the energy sector over the next 10 years, and the policy direction needed to support the required investment. The Roadmap will serve as a guiding document providing detailed recommendations of actions for sector stakeholders to better coordinate and align resources in the energy sector.At the launch of the Energy Roadmap, the Government set out the following vision:“To energise Vanuatu’s growth and development through the provision of secure, affordable, widely accessible, high quality, clean energy services for an Educated, Healthy, and Wealthy nation.” This vision aims to encourage investment in Vanuatu’s energy sector to enable stronger economic growth. It also focuses on geographic equity through universal access to energy.The Roadmap will establish a timeline for achieving this vision. Sector participants will be able to use this timeline to ensure the development process is focused and coordinated with other sector studies and projects. Although the vision as a whole may be aspirational and on-going, measurable targets are useful in prioritising particular objectives and tracking progress over time. For example, Vanuatu could set a target date of 2020 to achieve certain energy sector objectives. Further development will then extend beyond 2020.Vanuatu Activities identified under the Pacific Island Green House Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy Project (PIGGAREP) will build on 4 key initiatives:Extension and capacity building for the 600kW Sarakata Hydro Project (extension another 600kW);The joint Energy Unit and UNELCO EU ACP Energy Facility-funded projects on biofuel using copra to bring energy to 660 households, 6 primary schools and one college, 2 dispensaries;The VANREPA's EU ACP Energy Facility-funded project on wind power, benefiting 237 households, 4 schools, several kindergartens, 5 health centres (dispensaries), community governing offices, tourism, fishing and handicraft cooperatives, business centres with access to energy from this project.Pacific Islands Cooperation Programme with the Government of Italy to prepare the call for tender for the conduct of the feasibility study on the Talise Hydro Project.The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has a Renewable Energy Project, which primarily focuses on expanding the use of locally available renewable energy resources. There are three components of the project:wind monitoring and related technical assistance in all six provinces of the country;rehabilitation of Vanuatu solar PV systems on the islands of Santo and Malekula; andthe development of the Talise mini-hydro scheme to serve three communities on the island of Maewo in the Penama Province.

Static Source: