Tokelau islands shift to solar energy

Tokelau has become the first territory able to meet all its electricity needs with solar power, officials say.

The South Pacific territory – comprising the three atolls of Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo – had been dependent on diesel to generate electricity.

New Zealand, which administers Tokelau, funded a $7m (£4.3m) solar project.

Solar grids were constructed on the three atolls, with the last completed earlier this week.

“The Tokelau Renewable Energy Project is a world first. Tokelau's three main atolls now have enough solar capacity, on average, to meet electricity needs,” New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said in a statement.

“Until now, Tokelau has been 100% dependent upon diesel for electricity generation, with heavy economic and environmental costs,” he added.

Project co-ordinator Mike Basset-Smith said that the move represented a “milestone of huge importance” for Tokelau, as it would now be able to spend more on social welfare.

The remote islands of Tokelau lie between New Zealand and Hawaii. More

 

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