位於南太平洋完全使用太陽能供電的島嶼 South Pacifi c Islands Now Totally Powered by the Sun
Officials say the islands of Tokelau in the South Pacific Ocean have become the world's first territory totally powered by the Sun. The move is expected to save money and ease the environmental burden of depending on imported fossil fuels.
New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister released a statement about the Tokelau Renewable Energy Project. Murray McCully said Tokelau's three main atolls, or islands, now have enough solar capacity to meet all of their electricity needs. He said until now, Tokelau has been 100% dependent on diesel for producing electricity. That, he said, has burdened the country with heavy economic and environmental costs.
The three atolls of Tokelau are Atafu, Nukunonu, and Fakaofo. The group of islands is about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii and is administered by New Zealand. Together, they have about 1,500 citizens.
Each atoll received its own solar power grid system. New Zealand officials estimated the cost of the project to build the three solar grids at around $7 million. The last of the grids was completed earlier this month.
It is estimated that oil imports make up to 30% of national income in some parts of the Pacific. The move to solar power could save Tokelau about $1 million a year. One project coordinator said Tokelau would now be able to spend more on social programs to help its citizens.
Other South Pacific islands are attempting similar projects. The island nations of Samoa and Tuvalu are aiming to get all of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The Cook Islands plans to start moving to solar panels and wind turbines. And most houses in the South Pacific group of islands will begin to use solar water heaters.
East Timor's government has promised that no households in the capital, Dili, would be using firewood for cooking by 2015. It also says 50% of the country's electricity will come from renewable sources by the end of the decade.
New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says the country will hold a Pacific energy summit in March of next year. He said the meeting would build on the success of clean and affordable energy solutions for Tokelau, Tonga, and the Cook Islands.