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Asian Development Bank

100 Climate Actions from Cities in Asia and the Pacific


Two of Vanuatu’s islands are expanding the reach of the electricity grid and will connect an additional 1,050 households.

Espiritu Santo and Malekula are two of the largest islands of Vanuatu. Hydropower has been identified as the most cost-effective option for baseload power on the second largest island Malekula where the project will construct a 400 kW hydropower plant. Although relatively small compared with energy infrastructure in more developed countries, this important renewable energy resource will supply an estimated 90% of power for the households connected to the Malekula grid.


Replacing kerosene lighting with a cheaper form of energy is expected to improve household expenditure levels. Moreover, improved electricity access is likely to also improve children’s education and reduce health risks associated with burning kerosene indoors.

ADB provided a loan of $2.5 million as well as a $9 million grant, and the government co-financed the remaining $3.10 million.

Vanuatu has committed to transitioning to almost 100% renewable energy in the electricity sector. The locals of Malekula Island are the future beneficiaries of the Energy Access Project. The project will assist Vanuatu to install hydropower generation to replace diesel generation in Malekula and will extend the distribution grid in both Malekula and Espiritu Santo (photo by ADB).

The Challenge

With low levels of connection to the grid, imported kerosene is the fuel of choice for indoor lighting and fuel, and diesel generators mostly power off-grid generators.


Economic Fuel savings are estimated to come to $9.4 million over the economic lifetime of the project as less kerosene will have to be purchased.

Social Improved access to electricity in Vanuatu can free up household expenditure for improved education and also means that children have better access to electricity for light to complete homework.

Health Burning kerosene indoors can create health risks from poor indoor air quality. Reducing the reliance on this fuel indoors will therefore help to improve the health of citizens.