Tokelau targets 100% renewable energy

Durban, South Africa, 30 November -  By September next year, the 1,500 residents on the island nation of Tokelau will be 100% renewable energy efficient. That's the strong message the Faipule Foua Toloa, the Ulu or titular heard of Tokelau is sharing far and wide in Durban South Africa.

A delegation of three from Tokelau are at the UN Climate Conference, attending the different events and meetings that take place alongside the climate negotiations which has brought together over 20,000 delegates.

tokelau_30nov2011Delegation from Tokelau with Faipule Poua Toloa (middle)

"People are amazed by our strong message that we are sharing with the world," said Toloa.

"Although we are the smallest of the small we have a great vision with leaders in our community such as our elders and our fono are committed to this. It is a very expensive project but we are doing it."

The total project will cost Tokelau 8.5 million dollars that will result in a 93% photovoltaic system with coconut oil hybrid as a reserve. Tokelau is borrowing funds for this project, but is still seeking support to help the island nation reach their target.

"When we looked at the costs we learnt that we spend so much money to buy fossil fuel that we'll be recovering these costs in the next five years and we can use those funds in other development areas."

The population of Tokelau resides on three atolls which make up the nation that is currently under New Zealand administration. The delegation of three from Tokelau are attending the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework to the Convention on Climate Change under the New Zealand badge.

Tokelau declared a state of emergency in October this year after six months without substantial rain. It lies in the Pacific typhoon belt and it is understood that the highest point for the island nation is 5 meters. In the face of this climate change adversity, Tokelau is persevering to make a difference.

"We are challenging the world with our renewable energy targets. We cannot sit and pity ourselves that we are amongst one of the first countries to go under water – the smallest and the lowest. We can make a difference and begin to do something."

More news and images from the UNFCCC COP17 in Durban available on the Climate Pasifika Blog.

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