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Tokelau Scoops Major Award for World-Beating Solar Energy


Tokelau Scoops Major Award for World-Beating Solar Energy

The Pacific territory of Tokelau was tonight named winner (subs: 28 May) of the 2014 EECA Renewable Energy Award for its switch from diesel-generated electricity to clean, renewable solar energy.

Until last year, Tokelau’s three atolls relied on diesel generation for their electricity supply. As well as being costly and polluting, this left the islanders’ electricity supply at the mercy of bad weather when fuel shipments couldn’t make it to the islands.

The Tokelau Renewable Energy Project, launched in 2010 and completed last year, involved the installation of three large photo-voltaic (solar) arrays on each of the three atolls. These are now supplying 90% of Tokelau’s electricity needs – making it one of the world’s top nations in renewably-sourced electricity – and the first to run almost exclusively on solar-generated power.

Tokelau is a non-self governing territory of New Zealand. Assisted by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the project is saving NZ$900,000 in diesel costs every year and has cut annual CO2 emissions by more than 1,300 tonnes. It’s also inspired others, with the Cook Islands and Tuvalu set to embark on similar projects.

Judges praised the leadership shown by the project – which has both raised the profile of climate change and energy use in the Pacific, and offered a positive solution.

EECA Chief Executive Mike Underhill said Tokelau’s project was bringing numerous social and economic benefits to the small state.

“Island communities such as Tokelau, with few energy alternatives, are ideal sites for solar-generated electricity. This project showed immense vision and drive from the leaders and communities of Tokelau. They are showing other Pacific nations the way – as well as highlighting to the world the need for more renewable energy and less carbon-intensive fossil fuels.”

Tokelau’s Minister of Energy Hon. Foua Toloa accepted the award at a ceremony in Auckland tonight (subs: Weds 28 May).

The Renewable Energy Award is sponsored by Right House. Also honoured in this category were Wood Energy New Zealand which was Highly Commended; and Honeywell and the Southern District Health Board, which were Commended.

The 2014 EECA Supreme Award went to K&L Nurseries, winner of the Small to Medium Business award, for a bioenergy installation that is the first of its type in New Zealand.

The EECA Awards, held every two years, celebrate organisations and individuals that demonstrate excellence in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Collectively, 2014 Awards entrants have saved or generated energy worth around $100 million over the life of the projects, and have reduced or avoided 200,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The EECA Awards are presented in partnership with Principal Sponsors Fujitsu General NZ, Opus International Consultants and Vector.

For more about the winning projects see www.eecabusiness.govt.nz/awards-2014

The 2014 EECA Award Winners: full list

• Supreme winner: K&L Nurseries

• Large Business: Momentive Specialty Chemicals & Energy Plant Solutions

• Small to Medium Business: K&L Nurseries

• Public Sector: Kāpiti Coast District Council / Unitec

• Renewable Energy: Government of Tokelau

• Energy Management: DNZ Property Fund

• Innovation: Momentive Specialty Chemicals & Energy Plant Solutions / Ngati Hine Health Trust

• Community: Kāpiti Coast District Council

• Christchurch Energy Champion: Community Energy Action / Tait Communications

• Energy Leadership: Martin Fryer, Auckland International Airport


Note to Editors:

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) is the Crown agency that encourages, supports, and promotes energy efficiency, energy conservation, and the use of renewable energy in New Zealand. EECA provides information to households through ENERGYWISETM www.energywise.govt.nz and to businesses through EECA BUSINESSTMwww.eecabusiness.govt.nz

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