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Construction starts on major Pacific solar projects

Hon Murray McCully

Minister of Foreign Affairs

5 June 2014 Media Statement

Construction starts on major Pacific solar projects

Foreign Minister Murray McCully today announced that construction is starting on renewable energy projects worth more than $30 million in the Cook Islands and Tuvalu.

“New Zealand is committed to working with Pacific countries to increase access to clean, efficient and affordable energy, and reducing the regions’ reliance on imported diesel,” Mr McCully says.

“Tauranga based company PowerSmart has now been awarded the construction contracts for two major renewable energy projects that will result in solar energy covering 95 per cent of the electricity demands of large parts of the Cook Islands and Tuvalu.

“In the Cook Islands, New Zealand is supporting the construction of eight solar generation systems for the six outer islands of Rakahanga, Pukapuka, Nassau, Penrhyn, Manihiki and Palmerston. The total value of this investment is $20.5 million.

“In Tuvalu we will develop four mini-grid solar/hybrid systems on the Islands of Niutao, Nanumanga, Nanumea and Vaitupu, at a total cost of $13.9 million.

“PowerSmart has a strong track record of working with New Zealand and Pacific Governments on renewable energy projects. PowerSmart delivered the recently completed Tokelau Renewable Energy Project which saw a win for Tokelau at the 2014 EECA Renewable Energy Awards.

“As a result of this project Tokelau is saving $900,000 in diesel costs every year and they have reduced their CO2 emissions by more than 1,300 tonnes. These are exactly the sort of results we want to replicate across the Pacific through our support for renewable energy initiatives,” Mr McCully says.

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