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Balance celebrates landmark deal in the Pacific Islands

February 2, 2019 2 minutes read  Stories

What do coconuts and energy supply have in common? Well if you live on one of the 607 remote islands of the Federate States of Micronesia, quite a lot.

The group of islands in the middle of the Pacific are so remote it can take up to 45 hours from Australia for flights and in some cases, boat transfer to the islands. This creates some challenges getting resources, such as fuel and fresh food to the country’s some 105,000 residents.

The Micronesian people have relied for many decades on a financial compact with the United States, put in place following the Second World War. This compact comes to an end in 2023. Locally FSM rely largely on fishing and a small tourism industry to support their economy. Energy across the islands is supplied mostly from costly diesel generation. Many islands and areas remain un-electrified

The Micronesian islands however have an abundant coconut resource, a major untapped resource which is about to be utilised at a national commercial scale for the first time.

Vital’s Coconut For Life Initiative (C4L) aspires to:

  • Revitalize the nation’s Coconut Industry resulting in greater economic benefits,
  • Improved livelihoods for island communities,
  • Boost the Agriculture sector
  • Contribute to a 5% increase in the FSM GDP
  • Build a community of 25,000 registered farmers within 5 years
  • Assist in achieving development goals for island communities
  • Generate avenues for clean water & energy and better health through Green Initiatives
  • Promote geographical and product diversification with positive economic outcomes
  • Develop an exports-oriented business and foreign partnerships

C4Life also has plans to become Zero Waste. Using the entire coconut (including husk and shell) to produce export quality virgin coconut oil, animal feed, energy and fertiliser.

The integrated system of farmer cooperatives, supply chain systems, coconut processing, and integrated energy solutions has the potential to be up-scaled to other remote and regional locations facing similar challenges.

The transition from fossil fuels to renewables allows for sustainable and low cost localised energy production and operation. This not only minimises complex logistics systems but creates economic, social and environmental benefits on site. This is a substantial sustainable solution for developing regions.

Vital has partnered with a Perth based renewable engineering company, Balance Utility Solutions, to design, construct and commission a ‘Renewable Ready’ power station to accommodate future Photovoltaic (solar), battery storage and biomass generation.

“This project will see through to completion, the construction of a 50,000 per day, coconut processing facility on the un-electrified island of some 5,000 people and produce high value virgin coconut oil plus animal feed.”

Vital Head of Strategy – Mr Matthias Lawrence (above speaking at the FSM Senior Leaders Conference) stated that:

“The facility and supporting infrastructure will create economic value to the region, by providing jobs for local residents and develop new skills”

MD, Rod Hayes of Balance Utility Solutions

The project will create between 100 and 200 jobs on an island which currently has less than 20 paid jobs

The project will create between 100 and 200 jobs on an island which currently has less than 20 paid jobs

The project is everything we are about - developing and delivering genuine turnkey renewable based energy solutions that will sustain communities and businesses for many years to come”

Balance MD Rod Hayes said.

Balance celebrates landmark deal in the Pacific Islands