Those paragraphs might have been written by any renewable energy advocate here in Hawaii, but they’re by Asterio Takesy, director at Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in Samoa. Mr. Takesy’s comments, which appeared in a recent online edition of “Islands Business” that is published by Fiji-based Islands Business International, remind us that the Pacific islands, although thousands of miles apart in the largest ocean on Earth, have a common concern bordering on a crisis mentality -- our overwhelming dependence on external sources of energy.
The common denominator among Pacific islanders is our isolation, and with isolation come high energy costs due to extremely long transportation links and the islands' poor purchasing leverage. This year’s high energy prices even moved the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) to declare a “State of Economic Emergency” due to what it calls food and energy crises.
One gets a sense in reading publications from the South and West Pacific that governments are desperate for solutions and eager to tap into the stored energy in the tropical ocean around them. From the RMI’s Update Report on its declared emergency:
Hawaii has its share of hopeful OTEC watchers, too, as suggested by the big spike in hits to this blog after HECO’s “set-aside” comments regarding ocean energy technologies two weeks ago (and subsequently expanded in another post a few days later).
In solidarity with our Marshall Island neighbors and with appreciation for their concerns, we reprint here the RMI's invitation for assistance in addressing the islands' food and energy crises: