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Maldives Development Update: Unprecedented Crisis Presents ‘Green Growth' Opportunities

06/18/2020 | 06:27am EDT

Green recovery

The . It says that the current pandemic will end, but global warming and climate change will still loom large on the horizon. These are likely to create further disasters that not only destroy livelihoods and property, but also lead to warmer seas that cause coral bleaching and kill marine life, threatening the foundations of the crucial tourist industry and the nation's very survival.

The report examines the high cost of providing electricity to the archipelago's 200 or so inhabited islands. While the Maldives is to be credited for becoming the first South Asian country to achieve universal electrification - a feather in the cap for one of the world's most geographically dispersed countries - the country has paid a heavy price to accomplish this.

Today, the Maldives is almost completely dependent on fossil fuels - mostly diesel - to power the independent electricity grids on its islands. The burning of fossil fuels has not only become a major source of pollution but also generates 94 percent of the country's emissions, contributing to a carbon footprint that is significantly higher than the South Asian average. What's more, the import of these fuels accounts for almost a fifth of the country's imports, burning a hole in the country's budget. And while the Maldivian people have access to electricity, power tariffs in the country are among the highest in the region, even with government subsidies.

Given the country's ever-increasing demand for electricity, the government is aiming to raise the share of renewable energy in the national energy mix by 20 percent by 2023 and ramp it up to 70 percent by 2030.

Corresponding with the government's targets, the MDU presents two scenarios. It points out that investments of up to $300 million will be needed to realize the government's first target for 2023, with a further investment of $1 billion to achieve the 2030 target. Despite these high investment costs, the report suggests that by 2043, benefits can outweigh costs. And, apart from reducing air pollution and carbon emissions, a , especially for women.

Disclaimer

World Bank Group published this content on 18 June 2020 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 18 June 2020 10:26:08 UTC


© Publicnow 2020
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