UNDP is supporting Tokelau to reduce its fossil fuel dependency and to obtain 100% renewable energy by the end of 2012.
The project, apart of nearly eliminating fossil fuel use use and reducing carbon emissions, is also expected to generate employment opportunities and additional income for the local population.
7 May 2012: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is supporting Tokelau, a group of 3 small atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, to overcome its dependency on fossil fuels and meet its energy needs entirely through renewable energy by the end of 2012.
Even with its small population of 1,400, Tokelau currently imports over US$800,000 in fossil fuels every year. Through this initiative, Tokelau will become the first Small Island Developing State (SIDS) to obtain 100% of its energy from renewable sources. This achievement is planned to be followed by Tuvalu and Cook Islands in 2020. Apart of reducing the carbon emissions, the project is also expected to generate employment opportunities and additional income for the local population.
In 2004, the Government of Tokelau endorsed its first National Energy Policy and Strategic Action Plan with the objective of making the country energy independent through the use of renewable energy and other energy efficiency measures. The current Renewable Energy Project will finalize work on a solar plant in September 2012, and is currently installing 4,032 solar panels and batteries across Tokelau atolls, making it one of the world’s largest standalone solar systems. In order to withstand long periods of prolonged clouds, the plant functions as a hybrid system with solar energy and coconut oil fueled generators charging batteries.
The project, initiated by UNDP, receives technical and financial support from France, New Zealand, and from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). [UNDP News]