The Cook Islands Government aims to achieve 90% of their power needs from renewable energy by 2020. We helped the government realise its aim.
To support the Cook Islands Government, the New Zealand Government – through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, installed mini-grid photo-voltaic power systems in a number of villages on six remote islands. We helped manage this logistically enjoyable project.
Complexities of this project began with the remoteness of the islands: isolated atolls, thousands of kilometres from the Cook Islands’ capital, Rarotonga. The islands are served by irregular visits from a local freighter, with small barges taking goods to shore. Bad weather and other events often prevent goods arriving on the islands.
Previously, electricity was provided by diesel generators, usually for around 12 hours per day. Power supply was effected by issues of reliability, maintainability, capacity and access to adequate, regular diesel supplies.
There were no sources of hard aggregate for concrete or reliable earthmoving equipment on the islands, so all materials, equipment and tools required for construction were supplied via a freighter.
Using the latest equipment and smart metering, the systems can be supported remotely. And with local residents trained during the installation process, the community is empowered to maintain and operate the systems themselves.
Now with full-time power, the future has taken a new shape for Cook Islands’ residents – an improved quality of life, and increased economy activity.