Pacific's Tokelau in world first solar switch

Nov 07, 2012
This file photo, released by The Dominion Post in 2005, shows Atafu lagoon in the New Zealand dependency of Tokelau. These remote Pacific islands have become the first territory in the world to generate their electricity entirely from solar energy, in a project hailed as an environmental milestone.

The remote Pacific islands of Tokelau have become the first territory in the world to generate their electricity entirely from solar energy, in a project hailed as an environmental milestone.

Before the solar power grid was completed, the New Zealand-administered grouping of three coral atolls, with a population of just 1,500, relied on diesel generators for .

Project coordinator Mike Bassett-Smith said the diesel was not only environmentally unfriendly, it also cost the islands, which lie about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, around NZ$1.0 million ($825,000) a year.

Bassett-Smith, from New Zealand firm PowerSmart Solar, said the change would allow Tokelau to switch money from fuel purchases to social welfare projects.

"For Tokelau, this milestone is of huge importance for their continued well-being," he said in a statement received Wednesday.

"Many Pacific nations struggle to provide a high proportion of their people access to electricity, and even when they do, access to affordable electricity is a significant additional challenge."

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the US$7.0 million project had achieved a world first and Wellington was working with other Pacific nations such as Tonga and the Cook Islands to develop renewable energy.

"Completed on time and on budget, the is an excellent example of how small Pacific nations can lead the way on renewable energy," he said.

Explore further: Dismantling Germany's nuclear industry, piece by piece

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Coconuts, wind and sun to power Pacific nations

May 10, 2012

Tiny Pacific nations which are most at threat from rising seas have vowed to dump diesel and other dirty expensive fuels blamed for causing global warming and replace them with clean sources.

Second Pacific island declares drought emergency

Oct 04, 2011

A second South Pacific community has declared a state of emergency in a drought crisis that has seen water rationing imposed in parts of the region, officials in Wellington said Tuesday.

Airlift for drought-stricken Pacific island

Oct 07, 2011

New Zealand and Australia will Friday begin an airlift to help supply fresh water to the tiny drought-stricken Pacific nation of Tuvalu, which is under a state of emergency due to the crisis.

Screening Africa's renewable energies potential

Feb 08, 2012

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published today a study mapping the potential of renewable energy sources in Africa. The report analyses the current energy consumption in Africa and ...

One million Bangladesh homes on solar power

Jun 15, 2011

The number of households in electricity-starved Bangladesh using solar panels has crossed the one million mark -- the fastest expansion of solar use in the world, officials said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Many tongues, one voice, one common ambition

3 hours ago

There is much need to develop energy efficient solutions for residential buildings in Europe. The EU-funded project, MeeFS, due to be completed by the end of 2015, is developing an innovative multifunctional and energy efficient ...

Panasonic, Tesla to build big US battery plant

5 hours ago

(AP)—American electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. is teaming up with Japanese electronics company Panasonic Corp. to build a battery manufacturing plant in the U.S. expected to create 6,500 jobs.

Simulation models optimize water power

5 hours ago

The Columbia River basin in the Pacific Northwest offers great potential for water power; hydroelectric power stations there generate over 20 000 megawatts already. Now a simulation model will help optimize the operation ...

Charging electric cars efficiently inductive

6 hours ago

We already charge our toothbrushes and cellphones using contactless technology. Researchers have developed a particularly efficient and cost-effective method that means electric cars could soon follow suit.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Going
not rated yet Nov 07, 2012
Surely a possible site for OTEC power generation. (Ocean thermal energy conversion)