Tokelau, a small country in the middle of the Pacific Ocean created from a chain of islands called “atolls,” has become the first nation to meet all of its electricity needs through renewable solar power. The country is administered by the government of New Zealand, which invested $7 million to transition Tokelau to renewable energy and help its residents shed the reliance on diesel generators.
Tokelau suffered from an energy system that was expensive and not very eco-friendly:
It’s true that a remote, sunny island chain with 1,500 inhabitants is not a fair analog for the world’s densest cities, or even its less dense regions that are more developed. But remote regions of the world need energy too, and they often get it through running dirty, inefficient diesel or gasoline generators that suck up economic resources while adversely impacting the environment. Plus there are high transit costs–financial and environmental–associated with the transport of liquid fuels to remote areas. – Popular Science
For the residents of Tokelau, solar energy is freeing up resources towards other community development programs. It is improving the ecological balance of 3 beautiful islands. It is illustrating to the rest of the world the capabilities of solar energy. The project is one of the largest solar energy systems in the world.
Consisting of 4,032 photovoltaic panels and 1,344 batteries with generators running on biofuel derived from coconuts, the $7.5 million Tokelau Renewable Energy Project is considered one of the world’s largest off-grid solar systems. - Solar Daily
Iscolated small Pacific nations, such as Tokelau, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, are faced with high fossil fuel import taxes, and often also suffer from extreme weather. Petroleum bills can be up to 30% of these countries’ total imports, making them vulnerable to price increases. Solar power is helping Tokelau lower energy costs, while improving the nations environmental impact.
“Our commitment as global citizens is to make a positive contribution toward the mitigation of the impacts of climate change.” Jovilisi Suveinakama, general manager of the National Public Service of the Government of Tokelau - Solar Daily
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