about maldives

The Maldives is an archipelago 750 kilometers southwest of Sri Lanka with 26 atolls, 1192 Islands and a total land area of about 300 square kilometers. Of these only about 200 islands are inhabited and about half the country’s population lives on the outer islands away from the Male atoll. There are over 100 resort islands dedicated for tourism. Maldives has about 141 megawatts (MW) of installed diesel-based generation capacity on the inhabited islands and another 105 MW on the resort islands (2014). While Maldives has the unique distinction of being the first and only country in South Asia with 100 percent access to electricity, this achievement has come at a cost. Given the geographic spread, each island is electrified with its own diesel-powered mini-grid system, resulting in expensive and not very reliable supply. The cost of diesel power is extremely expensive and requires government heavy subsidies. As result of dependence on diesel Maldives spend a large share of its foreign exchange earnings for diesel imports and for electricity generation in particular. The 100 percent diesel dependence in electricity generation also makes Maldives carbon emissions per unit of electricity among the highest in the region.

Maldives has a large potential for solar power development. Studies show that the cost of energy generation from hybrid (Solar photovoltaic and diesel generation) systems would be significantly lower than the existing inefficient diesel based generation. The transition to renewable energy has a sound economic rationale. The government’s effort to increase electricity production from indigenous sources, including solar and wind, and to enhance energy security will reduce the pressure on the balance of payments and improve the fiscal position. Asian Development Bank has recently approved a large financing program to cover almost all the inhabited outer islands and Male, to install hybrid systems with solar PV and efficient diesel generators combined with storage and advanced energy management systems.



















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