10 Aug 2012

New Zealand welcomes launch of Tokelau solar power plant

7:51 am on 10 August 2012

The New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, has welcomed the launch of a solar power system on Fakaofo Atoll in Tokelau - the first step in the territory's move to renewable energy.

It is the first of three systems that, when fully operational, will provide almost 100 per cent of Tokelau's power.

Mr McCully says many Pacific countries are reliant on expensive imported diesel for electricity generation and it is a barrier to developing their economies.

He says the Tokelau Renewable Energy Project will see a solar-based mini-grid constructed on each of the three atolls, with more than five million US dollars in funding from the New Zealand aid programme.

Mr McCully says all three solar plants are expected to be operational before the end of the year.