Maldives appeals to world for technical help with carbon neutral plan

The Maldives has become the first country to crowdsource its renewable energy plan on the internet.

The current draft of the plan focuses on using solar energy to generate most of the country’s electricity and cut emissions by 60 percent before 2020.

The plan suggests that up to 80 percent of the electricity island communities use could be derived from renewable energy, without the cost of energy increasing.  The plan also proposes a shift to wind, batteries and biomass to complement solar power, retaining existing diesel generators for reserve power.

The Ministry of Economic Development revealed that economic modeling had shown that it was already cheaper to generate electricity from solar photovoltaic panels than from diesel on many Maldivian islands.

The direct cost of daytime solar PV is around US $0.21 per kilowatt hour, compared to $0.28 – $0.44 per kW/hour for existing diesel generators.

The cost of decarbonising the Maldives, which spends almost 25 percent of its GDP importing fuel, mostly on marine diesel, is estimated to be US$3-5 billion over the next 10 years.

“The investments will largely pay for themselves because the Maldives would save huge sums of money on oil imports,” the Ministry of Economic Development observed in a statement.

The Renewable Energy Investment Office, based in the Ministry of Economic Development, was established to help combat global warming. Last week it opened an internet forum for local and international groups and individuals to advise the Maldives’ plan to develop solar energy, which has been approved by the Cabinet.

“The government has limited experience working with renewable energies because these are relatively new technologies to the Maldives,” noted Minister for Economic Development, Mahmoud Razee.

“We have published our investment framework online and highlighted areas where we require feedback and help. We are crowd sourcing our energy plans and inviting the whole world to help us,” Razee said.

A more detailed plan will be submitted again in February, with details on investment strategies, explained Razee.

“Maldives is the first country to do this on a global scale and over the internet. This shows that we are innovative and willing to share by working with other countries on this issue, which affects everyone. Also, it shows that we are willing to be as transparent as we can,” Razee said.

Forum users must register with their real name and submit identification information before contributing, and they will be asked a series of questions to confirm that they are qualified to share their expertise. The forum rules encourage debate, but note that comments that “are deemed offensive or inappropriate, or don’t relate to the question” will not be published.

The forum rules further requests that “criticism of a proposal has to be supported by offering a better alternative, with a clear idea of cost and practicality,” in order to be useful.

The goals of the plan, Razee stated, were to free the country from the uncertainties and costs of its oil dependency, and to demonstrate global leadership in the fight against climate change.

“While we are working now on the initial production planning and development we will also be looking to use local and international expertise to develop storage capacity,” Razee said, acknowledging that storage was a primary concern.

While the Maldives has abundant sunlight during the day, the battery technology required for large-scale power generation at night is extremely expensive.

“Right now, we aren’t looking at storage because it would double the cost in this current economic environment. Technology is evolving reasonably rapidly though, and in five or ten years we think that providing storage will more affordable,” Razee said.

“Batteries are used at night, and as we know a lot of electricity is generated then. So we will need to address the issue of storage and how to provide energy at night within our larger goals.”

Forum topics in the comprehensive crowdsourcing project include solar and wind technology, energy storage, system control and demand management, novel technologies (including marine current and ocean thermal), biomass power generation, and finance.

Under each topic the Maldives appeals for expert assistance on several technical questions, around issues such as the use of solar panels in corrosive environments, the economics of tracking or fixed solar panel systems, and the viability of low velocity wind turbines.

Visit the forum (English)


17 thoughts on “Maldives appeals to world for technical help with carbon neutral plan”

  1. This is interesting. I have been waiting for over two years for government to say what it is planning to do on renewable energy.

    After 2009, when President said Maldives will become carbon neutral I was very skeptical anything would be done. But this plan is very good. I for one will like to see what world experts say about it.

  2. Economic models can be designed to predict anything, even the time of the end of the world

    If such modeling has shown solar can replace fossil energy, why is the US not spending on solar panels for energy independence, instead of going to expensive wars to Irag and Libya.

    'crowdsource' is saying we-do-not-know-what-we-are doing-so-help-us This could make a headline news and amuse people.

  3. Skeptics can remain in the caves until someone come and show them the light through the cave. Its about time we begin to really think of the solutions. I applaud the Government for releasing and requesting comments on this. Wish they had done this sooner! but, hey, its never too late.

  4. @ real world

    If you really do know about a search engine called GOOGLE and search for US based renewable energy projects I think you would feel that you're a total ignorant person who wants to show-off to others that you're smart.

    (1) The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) -

    (2) Renewable energy in the United States -

    Furthermore, the USA IS SPENDING (investing) on renewable energy sector to reduce the fossil fuels used on buildings and SAVE MONEY and make life easier if the damned OPEC tries to fuc# them up.

    Also the USA is waging war against oil rich countries just to keep their own oil fields intact and save them for a rainy day. They need these fossil fuels for the millions and millions of motor vehicles and other machinery. They're NOT using fossil fuels in major electricity production - UNLIKE the Maldives.

    The USA is SmArT unlike the Maldivian peanut brains. 😉 I'm a Maldivian too, just like you (but with a little difference). And guess what it is? Am not a peanut brain. :-p

  5. YA.Cavemen can only see the light when someone grab their hand and pull out from there. These ignorant still think they know every thing.

  6. First, declare that by 2020 we will be a carbon neutral country.
    Then appeal to the world to know how we can do it.
    Still not sure whether this is even feasible. Does not matter. No?
    As long as we can make bold headlines on newspapers (preferably all over the world), whether what we aim for is feasible or not, does not matter.

    We think the world is also as dumb as we are.

  7. Recently i saw on TV The Japanese have studied using solar PV in Male' and are going to actually install then on five public buildings.

  8. If the Government needs the whole world to help with a investment framework the President should immediately fire his Energy Advisor.

  9. real world,

    "‘crowdsource’ is saying we-do-not-know-what-we-are doing-so-help-us "

    Actually, in my line of work (software), this is actually a hugely efficient strategy.

    It is not so much as 'we don't know what we are doing', but more of 'let's all do this together, using our collective expertise'.

    I just read an article the other day about 3-D printing that got a boost from this very kind of approach. Of course, I'm not comparing our 'Carbon Neutral' plan with 3d printers. But I hope it illustrates the idea.

    Also, I'm not sure I understand the criticism of the government for its 2020 Carbon neutral target.

    Everyone knows it is not a very easily achievable target, but I always tend to see these as 'aim for the stars' kind of approach. It shows a vision - not a strategy.

    Surely, even if we achieve 20% of it, it is still 20% of an improvement?

  10. @agree with MR - energy advisor's CV needs to be checked.

    1. 'crowdsource' approach can work in software or making music - but hardly a credible way to make gov policy.

    2. The feasibility of green technology depends on an ASSUMPTION of CONTINUED high oil price. This would not likely be with stability in Irag and Libya. The low price of oil would blow up the whole model.

    3. Storage of green energy is still a problem. No one on earth knows how that can be done.

    4. Even if there is a feasible technology, would Maldives be able to start a green industry?. ie, go into production of solar panels or wind tubbiness. certainly not. Remember, we cannot even export the fish we have.

    4. It can actually cost more to change oil based systems to green tech even if (that is a huge IF), it is ever feasible.

    5. green technology is one of those a idealistic dream of some NGOs. It is is an unnecessary diversion that a government in a small country like Maldives can ill afford while there are issues of huge importance like poverty eradication

  11. The decision makers only listen to people around them. What ever others say is not considered. What is the point of opening the forum? I think the GoM have enough advisers! Should not be asking others to suggest what is to be done.

  12. @ yaamyn

    "Surely, even if we achieve 20% of it, it is still 20% of an improvement?"

    Of course, yaamyn. Of course.
    We can say we will send a man to Mars by 2020. And according to your crappy logic, if we are able to send a man to 'Haththeli' of Laamu Atoll, then we must have achieved some percentage of it.
    So pat on our backs for 'aiming for the stars.' Oops! Mars.

    PS. 'Haththeli' is, by the way, a small hill type elevated area on one of the Laamu Atoll islands.

  13. "energy advisor’s CV needs to be checked."

    A journalist who talks a lot about environmental issues I heard.

  14. "Everyone knows it is not a very easily achievable target, but I always tend to see these as ‘aim for the stars’ kind of approach. It shows a vision – not a strategy."

    I, at least for one, do not expect such utter tosh from a President.
    I do not want to know of one's (unrealistic) vision. I prefer to know what his strategies are.
    Who is incapable of dreaming unrealistically?
    You seem not only happy with such dreaming, but also justifying that it is worthy.

  15. @ Rolex

    About the energy advisor’s CV ...
    His name is Mark Lynas.
    He has a degree in history and politics.
    Thats all the formal education he has about "environmental" issues.

    Check here if you want to know more.

  16. Just to clarify, I'm not the relevant advisor on this issue. I remain the President's Climate Advisor, focusing mainly on overall strategy and the international negotiations. Mr Mike Mason is the President's Energy Advisor, based in the President's Office and working closely with the Ministry for Economic Development.

    Here are the details from Mike's website


    Mason, a world expert on renewable energy, carbon finance and offsetting, is tasked with providing the President and his office with strategic advice on how the Maldives can switch from oil based power to renewable energy, in order to improve the countrys energy security and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

    Mason founded Climate Care, one of the worlds first carbon trading companies, in 1997. Since then the company has become a market leader in the development of projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions around the world. In April 2008 Climate Care was acquired by JP Morgan one of the worlds foremost investment banks.

    Mike initially qualified as a mining engineer and worked mostly in Africa early in his career. He then gained an MBA and moved to business development in the oil industry. In 1994 Mike went to Oxford University to study Environmental Change and Management, where he also taught environmental economics for several years.

    The post of Energy Advisor is an unpaid position. Mike will split his time working between Oxford and the Maldives.

  17. so far i know , Maldives is the lowest carbon producing country. per capita carbon produced per year for b,desh is 0.273 tonnes, for India it is 1.3050 tonnes . for some developed industrial countries it ranges from 1100 to 2000 tonnes.use of solar power and wind power reduces carbon emission.welcome green technology to reduce carbon emission. thnx editor.


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