If you think those of us in large countries have a hard time ditching fossil fuels, it’s perhaps more difficult for those living on many small islands in the South Pacific. These islands have some of the highest dependencies on petroleum due to a lack of coal deposits or oil, meaning huge amounts of fuel for generators is imported in order to create electricity.
This is why it’s so remarkable to hear that the South Pacific territory of Tokelau is transforming itself into the world’s first (of many, hopefully) countries completely run on solar power. With 4,032 solar panels and 1,334 batteries, Tokelau will generate 150% of the current electricity demand.
Tokelau already uses a bit of solar energy to power some houses and buildings on three atolls, but fossil fuels are used for the majority of its energy. By the end of 2012, the New Zealand government and Powersmart Solar will provide the resources needed for the islands to rely almost entirely on renewable solar power.
The best part? The island won’t have to worry during emergencies or excessively cloudy days. The solar generators will also run on coconut oil, which will help recharge the battery bank and store power for use during the night. 200 coconuts will be needed to make 20-30 liters of fuel for each atoll.
Once Tokelau makes the switch, the only fossil fuel consumed by the islands will be used for the small number of cars. Pretty impressive!
Now let’s see if other islands follow suit, and as solar power develops, maybe entire states or countries will do the same.
Image: CC licensed, Wikimedia Commons