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