Contact Us









Source: The World Fact Book, CIA

Figure 1: Map of Vanuatu


Table 1: General Information on Vanuatu

Neighbouring Countries

New Caledonia, Australia, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tuvalu, Nauru, Wallis & Futuna, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea

Capital City

Port Vila

Land Area

12,189 sq km



Exchange Rate

Vatu 89.82/US$ (average 2011) /1

Population Size(habitants)

234,023 (2009 Census)

Number of Households

47,373 (2009 Census)

GDP per Capita

US$2,569 (2009)/2

Electrification Rate(%)


Source: /
            /2 Renewable Energy Country Profiles, Pacific, International Renewable Energy Agency (
            /3 Others: Vanuatu National Statistics Office, SPC




Vanuatu does not have indigenous sources of fossil fuels, and is highly dependent on imported fossil fuels to support its economy.  The escalating prices of imported fuel has placed considerable burden on Government to meet its economic growth goals.  Vanuatu has considerable technical potential for hydropower generation, and also a number of potential geothermal sites which have been identified, however, utilization of these renewable energy potentials has been limited to date.  The key challenges for the power sector include (i) developing alternative power supplies to reduce the impact to the economy from diesel importation, (ii) increasing access to electricity, particularly in off-grid areas, (iii) delivering sustainable operation and maintenance models for rural electrification projects, and (iv) coordinating donor activities in the power sector1.

Note: 1.Vanuatu: Country Partnership Strategy (2010-2014), Draft for Consultation, Asian Development Bank (ADB), August 2009.

Energy Efficiency Policies and Regulations:
Currently there is no National Energy Policy Framework that guides and directs energy sector development in Vanuatu.  Energy sector planning that is supported by appropriate regulations appears to be focusing only on the supply of electricity in urban centres and the importation of petroleum fuels.  The Government Policy Priorities for 2009 - 2012 document includes energy sector priorities aiming to (i) ensure that power is more widely available at a fair price, and (ii) explore/expand and invest on renewable energy sources. 

The World Bank is currently providing technical assistance to the Government of Vanuatu (GoV) to develop the Vanuatu Energy Roadmap (VERM), which was subsequently renamed the National Energy Roadmap (NERM) as there was already an educational road map referred to as VERM.  The Energy Task Force was also established to oversee the development of NERM.

Following the request from the Government, Union Electrique du Vanuatu Limited (UNELCO), a private company and a subsidiary of GDF Suez, drafted the Rural Electrification Master Plan in 2006.  The Master Plan provides a comprehensive analysis of alternative technologies for electrification of off-grid areas, and the main proposed technology include mini grid diesel generation (with coconut oil conversions where resources allow), and solar PV systems hybrid with hydropower and wind, where resources exist. 

Key Energy Efficiency Stakeholders:
Review of various reports and studies have suggested that the following agencies may have a role relevant to development and implementation of Energy Efficiency projects and activities in Vanuatu. These are:

  • The Energy Unit within the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources: Responsible for managing the power sector in Vanuatu
  • Utilities Regulation Authority (URA): Established to ensure safe, reliable and affordable water and electricity, and responsible for monitoring the electricity concession contracts for Port Vila, Luganville, Tanna and Malekula;
  • UNELCO Vanuatu Limited: Responsible for generation, distribution and retail of electricity for Efate, Malekula and Tanna islands;
  • Other agencies, including but not limited to, National Statistics Office, Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) and industry associations




The Energy Unit within the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is responsible for managing the power sector in Vanuatu.  A semi-autonomous Utilities Regulation Authority (URA) has been established under the Utilities Regulatory Authority Act No.11 of 2007.  It is independent from the government and its purpose is to ensure safe, reliable and affordable water and electricity. It monitors the electricity concession contracts for Port Vila, Luganville, Tanna and Malekula. It renegotiates tariffs under the rules of the existing contacts, it manages consumer complaints, and it advises the government.
According to the URA’s website, utilities in Vanuatu manage and operate assets that belong to the Government.  These utilities produce electricity to supply distribution network of their assigned concession. They also maintain the poles and the connections to the homes.  Currently, there are two operators in the four concessions:

  • UNELCO has concessions on Efate, Malekula and Tanna islands.  It has been producing and supplying electricity and water in Vanuatu since 1939.
  • Vanuatu Utilities and Infrastructure Limited (VUI) is a subsidiary of Pernix Group, Inc. VUI started operating a concession on Espiritu Santo island on 1 January 2011.

Electricity Supply:
Power generation in Vanuatu is predominantly based on diesel generation with contribution from wind, coconut oil blended, hydro and solar power.  In 2010, 19% of the energy generated in Vanuatu came from renewable resources: hydro, wind energy and coconut oil, and characteristics of electricity generation in Vanuatu are summarized in Table 2.

Table 2: Electricity Generation in Vanuatu

Concession Area

Installed Capacity (MW)

Gross Annual Generation (MWh, 2010)





Renewable energy generation accounted for about 11.8% (coconut oil-0.8% and wind energy 8.7%) of the total generation.




Renewable energy generation accounted for about 3% (coconut oil) for the total generation.





Espititu Santo



Renewable energy accounted for about 80% (hydro power) of the total generation.






The overall generation mix in Vanuatu in 2010 and gross annual generation in each concession area are shown in Figure 2 and Figure 3.

Figure 2: Electricity Generation Mix in Vanuatu, 2010

Figure 3: Gross Annual Generation by Concession Area, 2010

Electricity Tariff:

In Vanuatu, URA determines the maximum utility price that may be charged and it is effective on the day on which the determination is published in the Gazette.  Electricity tariff is adjusted every month, and the rates are applicable from the 1st to the 31st of each month.  Based on the URA website (, electricity tariffs over the past three months in Vanuatu are shown in Table 3.

Table 3: PPL Tariff Structures (as of 1st August 2012)


UNELCO (Port Vila, Malekula, Tanna, Vatu/kWh)

VUI (Luganville, Vatu/kWh)

UNELCO (Port Vila, Malekula, Tanna, USD/kWh)

VUI (Luganville, USD/kWh)

October 2012





September 2012





August 2012





Note: 1.
          2. US$1 = Vatu 90.43 (average Interbank rage 1st August 2012 - 31st October 2012,

Electricity Demand:

An estimated 28% of the Vanuatu households have access to electricity.  Access rates in the main urban centers of Port Vila and Luganville are as high as about 75%, dropping off considerably in rural areas. Based on the URA’s website, the total number of customers in all 4 concession areas is 13,311, as shown in Table 4.

Table 4: Number of Electricity Customers in Vanuatu (2010)

Concession Area

No. of Customers







Espititu Santo





Demand Profile:
Based on UNELCO annual report 2010, peak load demand in Port Vila is about 11MW, and the electricity demand profiles clearly reflect contributions from the commercial and residential sectors, as shown in Figure 4.  In general, there are 2 electricity peak demands, i.e. late morning to early afternoon peak and evening peak.  Analysis of the load profile showed that the major contributors to daytime load are commercial customers (primarily air-conditioning and lighting).  The decrease in commercial sector activities in the afternoon (around 5pm) is replaced by the increase in the residential sector activities (primarily lighting and cooking) resulting in an evening peak around 7.30pm.


Source: UNELCO Electricity Annual Technical Report, 2010
Figure 4: Demand Profiles in Port Vila




Residential Sector:
The latest Census in Vanuatu does not include collection of data on sizes, energy performance (presence of energy labels on appliances, and power consumption rating) and usage patterns, therefore energy performance of household appliances in Vanuatu will be determined based on the results of a household survey to be conducted by the PEEP2 project to collect additional data to better determine the baselines of energy performance of household appliances.  Findings from residential data collections and analysis in Vanuatu are discussed in the following sections.

Ownership of Household Appliances:
The 2009 Vanuatu Population Census report provides basic information on ownerships of various household items including refrigerators, freezers, TVs, computers, etc. The % ownerships of some selected appliances among households in Vanuatu are estimated in Table 5.

Table 5: Ownership of Selected Household Appliances in Samoa


2009 (%)/1

No. of Units /2







Video/DVD Player






Source:   /1 2009 National Population and Housing Census, Analytical Report, Volume 2
               /2 Estimated number of appliances in the residential sector in Vanuatu, based on 47,373 households

The 2009 Census report however does not include air conditioners, and it does not indicate if refrigerators and freezers are single or separated units.  Further, the age of the major appliances and their size was not indicated nor their country of manufacture and whether they are labelled according to their energy efficiency. There is no indication of the types of electric lighting or numbers of lights.

A national Household and Income Expenditure Survey (HIES) was carried out in 2010 with several objectives including “to provide data for assessing the impact on household living conditions of existing or proposed economic and social measures, particularly changes in the structure of household expenditures and in household consumption” The final report has not yet been released but limited data on household energy use are expected to be available by the end of October 2012, and it is hoped that the HIES analysis will supplement the household energy survey (and vice versa).

In addition to the Census data, data provided by the Customs Department and the Vanuatu National Statistics Office shows two major import origins are identified, i.e.: 1) wholesalers/trading companies in Australia/New Zealand of which products usually comply with AUS/NZ MEPS and Energy Labeling requirements, and; 2) wholesalers/trading companies in other countries (e.g. China, Fiji and Singapore) from which products may or may not comply with MEPS or Energy Labeling of the respective countries of origin.  Analysis of import statistics from 2008 to 2011 has shown that penetration of non-AUS/NZ appliances has generally increased for most types of appliances, however most of household appliances in Vanuatu are still imported from Australia and New Zealand. 

Source: Vanuatu National Statistics Office
Figure 5: Imports of Major Electrical Appliances in Vanuatu (2008 -2011)

It should be noted that using import units is a more accurate way of determining the share of each country as the import value share is influenced by exchange rates and equipment costs, i.e. the electrical equipment import value from Australia and New Zealand is typically higher than that of the People’s Republic of China (China).   However, the Customs departments usually interest in determining the value of the imported electrical appliances for taxation purposes and therefore the number of imported units is not usually a priority or correctly indicated by the supplier and/or customs officer, especially with regards to small electrical appliances such as lamps. 

Based on available import statistics and market observations during the country visits, the PEEP2 project team summarizes indicative energy performance of household appliances in Vanuatu, as shown in Table 6.

Table 6: Indicative Energy Performance of Priority Household Appliances in the Cook Islands

Electrical Appliance

Common Type

Indicative Energy Performance


2-Door Fridge/Freezer

Less than 50%
comply with AUS/NZ MEPS


Chest Freezer

Around 50%
comply with AUS/NZ MEPS

Domestic Washing Machines

Front Loaded and Top Loaded

Around 75%
comply with AUS/NZ MEPS

Source: Import statistics 2008 – 2011, Vanuatu National Statistics Office, and market surveys conducted by the PEEP2 Project Team

The data gathered during the in-country retailer surveys, conducted by IIEC in July 2012, includes information on appliance brands, country of manufacture, and complements existing customs data presented above. Note that information of electrical appliance brands and country of manufacture is not comprehensive. The country of manufacture of certain appliances is not easily identifiable and in some cases could only be identified through the product’s user manual.

Table 7: Brands and Countries of Manufacture of Common Household Appliances in Vanuatu

Electrical Appliance


Countries of Manufacture


Dellware, Sharp, Westinghouse, Panasonic, Whirlpool, (made in Thailand), Panasonic (made in Thailand)

Sharp and Panasonic models made in Thailand


Sunyo, Husky, Berjaya

Berjaya models made in Malaysia

Air Conditioners
(all sizes)

Fujitsu, Haier, Panasonic, Sanyo, Mitsubishi, Sharp

Thailand, Singapore

Domestic Washing Machines

Simpson, Whirpool


Linear Fluorescent Lamps

Expro, Okes, Crompton

China, Malaysia

Compact Fluorescent Lamps

GE, Crompton, Lumelux

China, Malaysia

Incandescent Lamps

Philips, GE


Source: Market surveys conducted by the PEEP2 Project Team


Figure 6: Refrigerators with AUS/NZ Energy Labels in Retailers in Vanuatu

Building Sector:
The primary building categories in Vanuatu would include: Public Sector (Government) Buildings, Private Sector Buildings (offices and retailers), Hotels and Resorts, and Hospitals.  Necessary data to determine energy use baselines for the building sector, including building stock data and Energy Use Index (EUI) or Specific Energy Consumption (SEC), is not available in Vanuatu.  The PEEP2 Project is currently conducting building surveys in Vanuatu to compile all necessary data to establish the energy use baselines for the building sector. 

Street and Outdoor Lighting:
Inventory data of street and outdoor lighting in Vanuatu was not available during the preparation of this report and the PEEP2 project team aims to conduct market surveys in Vanuatu in 2013 to collect all necessary data required for determination of energy use baselines of the street and outdoor lighting in Vanuatu.



S5 Box