The Cook Islands government is now ready to embark on its Pukapuka-Nassau Renewable Energy Project after the recent approval of their second proposal towards the Pacific Environment Community Fund (PEC) Funds.
Each Forum Island Country (FIC) has been provided an indicative allocation of USD$4million from the PEC Funds. The Cook Island government is now pursuing this second project which will be implemented concurrently with their first project, the US$1 million Rakahanga project that commenced in 2011.
The renewable energy project is in line with the Cook Islands National Sustainable Development Strategy and the Cook Islands Energy Charter, whereby the Government seeks to provide essential renewable energy sources to the island communities of Pukapuka and Nassau. The project will provide 24hours supply of electricity to the communities through the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) mini-grid systems on each of the islands.
Similar to the Rakahanga project, the most vulnerable and isolated islands are selected for these energy conversion projects. Being considered as part of the most remote islands in the Cook Islands group, this project boosts significant development opportunities for the inhabitants of Pukapuka and Nassau.
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s Secretary General, Mr Tuiloma Neroni Slade commended the efforts of the Government of Cook Islands in providing much needed assistance to these remote and vulnerable communities and added, “While installation of these renewable energy systems presents great benefits for the people of Pukapuka and Nassau, the PEC Fund acknowledges that this initiative will also minimize reliance on the use of diesel fuel in electricity generation, consequently providing cost savings, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting environmentally sustainable economic development on these Islands.”
The installation works will provide a more sustainable and long-term intervention to the electricity supply situations on these Islands through the provision of reliable, continuous and high quality electricity generated from renewable energy sources.
The Government of Cook Islands through the Renewable Energy Development Division (REDD) will implement the project in collaboration with the Government of New Zealand and the Pacific Islands Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy(PIGGAREP), who will also be providing additional resources to maximize the benefits of the project in Pukapuka and Nassau.
The PEC Fund is a commitment by the Government of Japan to provide ¥6.8billion (approximately US$66 million) to Forum Island Countries to tackle environmental issues. Each FIC is provided with an indicative allocation of USD$4million to support projects with a focus on the provision of solar power generation systems and seawater desalination plants or a combination of both. The fund is administered by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
To date, the Governments of Samoa, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Nauru, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Niue, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands and Vanuatu have successfully accessed the PEC Fund for national renewable energy and seawater desalination projects.