Cook Islands heading for 100% renewable electricity

A small and remote Pacific nation, with a population less than many Australian country towns, is striving to go 100% renewable energy by 2020 using “Te Mana o te Ra” or “the power from the sun”, as it’s largest project so far is called.

wind turbine behind Muri beach, on Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Micro wind turbine behind Muri beach, on Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Photo: Ben Courtice

The Cook Islands has a total population of under 15000 (although there is usually a lot of tourists there as well). The largest island, Rarotonga, has a resident population of a bit over 10,000 at the latest census – on a par with many small to medium country towns in Australia.

Solar panels are starting to pop up everywhere – even on the roof of Rarotonga’s 10-megawatt diesel power station!

The airport has a prominent 1MW array of solar panels, making a good start on repowering the most populated island. Some businesses are already going to 100% solar energy on the island, too. The smaller island of Rakahanga is now 100% solar powered.

We have to ask: if this small island nation can set such an ambitious target, how many Australian towns and communities can follow suit? And who is up for the challenge?

Te Mana o Te Ra – image from http://www.rumours-rarotonga.com/blog/rarotonga-goes-solar/

Yes 2 Renewables is a campaign of Friends of the Earth Melbourne.

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