Tokelau islands shift to solar energy
Nov 6, 2012 - BBC NEWS
Tokelau has become the first territory able to meet
all its electricity needs with solar power, officials
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
The remote islands of Tokelau lie between New Zealand
Most of the 1,500 islanders live by subsistence
farming, with thousands of others choosing to settle
in New Zealand or neighbouring Samoa.
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