NZ Lends A Solar Helping Hand In Pacific Nations

New Zealand is supporting the construction of the Pacific’s largest solar panel array in Samoa and also providing a helping hand for other Pacific Nations to pursue clean energy.
   
According to New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, the country is working in partnership with the Government of Samoa, the European Union and the Asia Development Bank to increase renewable energy in Samoa. 
   
Part of the project includes the construction of 2.2 MW installation at the Apia Sports Complex, a smaller array on the rooftop of one of the gymnasiums at the Complex; plus another solar power system in Salelologa, Savaii.
   
“Renewable energy is a strong focus of New Zealand’s support to developing countries. The investments in Samoa reflect commitments made at the Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland last year,” Mr McCully said.
  
Elsewhere in the Pacific, New Zealand has been assisting in Tuvalu where 95 percent of electricity is currently gained from diesel generation. 
   
New Zealand has funded the construction of four small scale solar-hybrid systems on the Islands of Niutao, Nanumanga, Nanumea and Vaitupu; which will provide 90 per cent of the islands’ electricity needs and improve continuity of service.
  
Last week, New Zealand also entered into a partnership with the European Union (EU), and Tuvalu to continue this work
  
“This in an excellent example of New Zealand’s cooperation with the EU on renewable energy and the sort of practical projects we can deliver in partnership with Pacific countries,” Mr McCully says.
  
On Kiribati’s Kiritimati Island, which also has a heavy reliance on imported diesel fuel for electricity generation, New Zealand and the EU have entered into an agreement to allow for greater technical cooperation relating to renewable energy project development on the island.
   
Many Pacific nations are low-lying and particularly threatened by sea level rises spurred on by global warming; so the shift from fossil fuels is as much about survival and setting an example for the rest of the world to follow as it is about saving money.