Workshop Series: Energy Resilience in Pacific Island Countries and Territories

Tuesday, December 1, 2020, online

Resilience in an energy system can be defined as its ability to resist, absorb, accommodate, adapt to, transform and recover from shocks and stresses. Energy resilience in the Asia-Pacific region is shaped by dynamics relating to energy security, transitions, reliability and recent disasters, such as coastal flooding, volcanic eruptions, cyclones and COVID-19.

These are FREE events. 

This online, interactive workshop series will open up dialogue on energy resilience focusing on the experience of Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs), as well as exchange experiences with other regions. Case studies will include Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Tokelau, as well as drawing experience from Australia and a range of other countries. The aim of the series is to jointly identify research priorities for increasing energy resilience using grid and off-grid renewable energy in PICTs.

The three workshops will focus on: 

Tues 1 Dec 2020 - Planning and investing in more resilient energy systems (15:30-17:30 AEDT). Tickets here

Planning for energy resilience means embedding robustness against and recovery from disruptions into decision-making. A range of vulnerabilities associated with weather, remoteness and lack of capacity threaten access to affordable and reliable supply of electricity in PICTs. Accounting for these in planning decisions present opportunities to improve energy resilience, both on and off-grid.

This workshop will review key vulnerabilities, challenges and opportunities for resilient energy planning in PICTs through insights from case studies, panel discussion and participants.


  • Anna Bruce, UNSW Sydney
  • Iain MacGill, UNSW Sydney

Panellists and Presenters:

  • Apisake Soakai, Independent Consultant, previously Pacific Coordinator IRENA and CEO Nauru Utilities Authority
  • Akuila Tawake, Geoscience, Energy and Maritime (GEM) Division of SPC
  • Manu Rawali, University of PNG and UNSW Sydney
  • Atul Raturi, University of the South Pacific
  • Julia McDonald, ITP Renewables Australia

Wed 2 Dec 2020 - Energy resilience and the political economy of off-grid solar (15:30-17:30 AEDT). Tickets here

Off-grid solar products – such as solar power lanterns and solar home systems – due to their modular design, flexible application, and easy distribution – have the potential to offer resilient forms of energy access in disaster contents. Compared to the infrastructural challenges of the grid (powerlines, etc), they are much less susceptible to disruption during disaster events such as floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Off-grid solar products have also been important for disaster response efforts – being distributed in post-disaster contexts to help supply lighting to blacked-out households. Over the past 10 years, however, there has been rapid change in the political economy of how these products are disseminated, with a shift from aid to enterprise. There has been the emergence of a self-conscious Off-Grid Solar Sector, whereby a diverse range of start-up companies, with funding from private sector investors, have developed marketised models to disseminate off-grid solar products to poorer population in the Global South. This industry’s initial boom started in East Africa; however, over the past five years there has been a rapid increase in off-grid solar products being sold as commodity across the South Pacific. In this panel discussion, drawing on case studies from the South Pacific, as well as drawing from the speakers experience from working in other regions of the Global South, look at the opportunities and limitations that off-grid solar technologies – and the political economies of their dissemination – might play in fostering different forms of energy resilience.


  • Dr Paul Munro, University of New South Wales 


  • Sam Grant, CLASP
  • Dr Iwona Bisaga, Loughborough University
  • Shanil Samarakoon, University of New South Wales


Thurs 3 Dec 2020 - Community energy resilience strategies in response to disasters (15:30-17:30 AEDT). Tickets here

Communities in PICTs face multiple short-term shocks and long-term stresses including cyclones, ecological degradation, global climate change and COVID-19. These factors threaten progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the SDG 7 to ‘ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’. There is an urgent need to address energy resilience. Communities have their own understanding of resilience and act strategically to gain or maintain energy access in the face of disasters. In this workshop, we will discuss the role of communities in creating greater energy resilience and the contribution of energy systems to community resilience. We will explore the diversity of circumstances in PICTs through case studies, including Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, and draw on lessons learnt in Australia, Malawi and Nepal. The workshop is an opportunity to share experiences, collectively identify research priorities and contribute to a briefing on the role of community energy resilience in the region.


  • Dr Atul Raturi, University of the South Pacific 
  • Dr Long Seng To, Loughborough University


  • Makereta Lomaloma, Secretariat of the Pacific Community
  • Katerina Syngellakis, Global Green Growth Institute
  • Pauline Komolong, Independent Consultant
  • Peter Johnston, Director, Environmental & Energy Consultants Pty Ltd
We will also bring together insights from the three workshops in a panel discussion at the Urban Resilience Asia Pacific Conference

Fri 4 Dec 2020 - Energy resilience and disasters in the South Pacific: political economy dynamics, community responses and planning (16:00-16:50 AEST). Watch on Youtube here

The series is co-organised by the University of New South Wales, the University of the South Pacific and Loughborough University, and we welcome participants from the Asia-Pacific Solar Research ConferenceUrban Resilience Asia Pacific Conference and Geographic Information for Disaster Management ConferenceThe work is supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s International Engagement Program, the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Research Fellowship scheme.


Title Author Links
Background Paper for Workshops Darcy Small, Ashleigh Nicholls, Thomas Jeffrey , Anna Bruce , Iain MacGill , Paul Munro , Atul Raturi , Manu Rawali, Long Seng To
W1 - Planning and investing in more resilient energy systems A. Bruce
W1 - Fiji: The Electricity Sector – Road to Resilience Atul Raturi
W1 - Australian bushfire resilience Iain MacGill
W1 - Tokelau Case Study Anna Bruce
W1 - Tying Electricity Access and Resilience in Papua New Guinea Manu Rawali
W1 - Framing the Challenge Iain MacGill
W2 - Energy Resilience and the Political Economy of Off-Grid Solar Paul Munro
W3 - Community energy resilience strategies in response to disasters (1) Long Seng To
W3 - Community energy resilience strategies in response to disasters (2) Pauline Komolong
W3 - Community energy resilience strategies in response to disasters (3) Katerina Syngellakis
W3 - Communities roles & contribution of energy systems to energy resilience Makereta Lomaloma
W3 - Record of Small Group Discussion
W4 (Synthesis)- Energy resilience in the South Pacific: political economy dynamics, community responses and planning Anna Bruce , Iain MacGill , Paul Munro , Atul Raturi , Long Seng To