The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Lighthouses initiative (LHI) is a framework for action to support SIDS in the transformation from a predominantly fossil-based to a renewables-based and resilient energy system. The initiative addresses all elements of the energy transition, from policy and market frameworks to technology options and capacity building. Lighthouses brings together 36 SIDS as well as 22 other partners, including regional and international organisations, development agencies, private companies, research institutes and non-profit organisations. IRENA is the coordinator and facilitator of the initiative.

In the framework of the initiative, SIDS partners have gained access, among other aspects, to:

  • Policy, regulatory and technical advisory services.

  • Capacity building for local policy makers, utilities, private sector, financing institutions and other relevant actors.

  • Support on grid stability analyses as well as on project facilitation.

  • Support for access to affordable finance.

  • A platform to share information, knowledge, lessons learned and best practices.

Launched at the United Nations Climate Summit in 2014, the initial LHI targets for 2020 have been met and exceeded ahead of schedule. Taking into consideration the commitments of SIDS and development partners, and the evolution of the energy context, new priority areas and target have been identified and endorsed by partners in a high-level meeting held at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2018.

The new priority areas of the SIDS Lighthouses Initiative are:

  • Support SIDS in reviewing and implementing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), extending technical assistance and capacity building where needed.

  • Expand from assessment and planning to implementing effective, innovative solutions, with continued technical and regulatory advisory services to help SIDS overcome the unique challenges they face.

  • Promote all renewable sources, including geothermal and ocean energy, and step up work to integrate solar PV and wind power.

  • Support the development of bankable projects, fostering access to finance and closer co-operation with the private sector.

  • Strengthen institutional and human capacity development in all segments of the renewable energy value chain.

  • Expand focus beyond power generation to include transportation and other end-use sectors.

  • Leverage synergies between renewables and energy efficiency.

  • Reinforce links between renewables and non-energy sectors – including agriculture, food, health and water – to foster broad socio-economic development, as well as raising awareness about job creation, gender equality and women’s empowerment through renewable energy development.

  • Link renewable energy uptake to climate resilience and more effective disaster recovery.

  • Enhance collection and dissemination of data and statistics, supporting informed decision-making and effective monitoring.

  • Reinforce and expand partner engagement, leveraging synergies with existing SIDS initiatives and other IRENA co-ordinated platforms, such as the Global Geothermal Alliance, the International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference and the Coalition for Action.

  • Boost renewable power deployment, aiming for a target of five gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity in SIDS by 2023.

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