Inauguration of the solar farm Total to Vuda

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His Excellency Mr. Aiyaz SAIYED-KHAIYUM, Attorney general of the Republic of Fiji,

Honorable Tui Vuda, Ratu Kitione TAVAIQA,

Mr. Pierre-Emmanuel BREDIN, General Manager Operation Total Asia Pacific,

Mr. Sylvain QUEMENEUR, General Manager Total Fiji,

Members of media,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning.

It is with great pleasure that I am here with you today to inaugurate the solar farm installed by Total on its Vuda terminal.

For all countries of all continents, the issue of energy supply has always been a major issue. Today, global warming is also a great challenge that leads us to make cleaner and planet-friendly choices.

The Pacific Island States, where the oil bill accounts for a significant share of the national wealth, are primarily concerned. They are also the main victims of climate change. Kiribati and Tuvalu of course, whose disappearance is a likely threat, but also Fiji of which some villages had to be relocated.

Renewable energy is obviously the best solution to take into account this double imperative of energy supply and environmental friendly choices. Island states have understood tis, like Tokelau first country in the world to claim 100 % renewable energy. In Fiji - this is a much larger market - renewables account for 76% of the energy mix, mainly due to hydro. The government goal is to achieve a 90 % rate in 2015. For that, the FEA wishes to increase the number of IPPs (Independent Power Producers), which will require a law guaranteeing a feed-in tariff. Without this assurance, which allows calculating the return on investment, no reasonable investor will embark on the adventure. And when it comes to energy, it is better to be reasonable!

France is of course very sensitive to these issues. With the European Union, it has always been a driving force in the climate negotiations , developing a fruitful partnership with the Alliance of Small island states (AOSIS) chaired by Nauru. And it is France which will host in 2015 the 21th Conference of Parties (COP). Our ambition for this “Climate Summit - Paris 2015” is the adoption of a new, ambitious, global and binding climate framework.

In the shorter term and more concretely, France is active in the region through the European Union, contributing to 20% of its official development assistance (ODA). France is also active through its companies, such as Total as we can obviously notice today, and though its Territories.

In New Caledonia alone – I take New Caledonia as an example because it is culturally the closest of our three Territories in the region - no less than 11 companies offer renewable energy solutions. They are very reliable companies – including some subsidiaries of world champions, such as GDF- Suez. One of them, Vergnet Pacific has already intervened in Fiji, with the construction of Butoni wind farm near Sigatoka.

Those companies are just close by, which facilitates contact and after-sales service. They are at the heart of the subject that brings us together today. Some came on an exploratory mission in Fiji and, a feed-in tariff be in place, they would certainly invest, imitating Total, a company which disserves today our warm congratulations for this superb installation, the beginning, I am sure of a great adventure in solar energy in Fiji – I would say, in the west, not being so sure that Suva weather would be very appropriate!

Thank you kindly for your attention.

Published on 04/06/2014

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