Land identified in Mauke, Cook Islands for solar project
Land is identified in Mauke in the Cook Islands for the government's national solar project.
An area of land has been identified on the island of Mauke in the Cook Islands, for the installation of solar panels under the national energy plan.
The Cook Islands government has set a target of 100 percent renewable energy by 2020 and 50 percent renewable energy by 2015.
Steven Barrett from the New Zealand High Commission in the Cook Islands told Beverley Tse that a team is visiting the Southern Group of islands examining the financial feasibility, viability and technical aspects of the project.
STEVEN BARRETT: Between the ADB, the European Union and New Zealand, we decided that we would look at the separate sectors. Basically, we've divided the country. The country itself is already separated into the northern and southern groups, and New Zealand has indicated that we will manage the installations in the northern group, which include Penrhyn, Palmerston, Pukapuka, Nassau, Manihiki and Rakahanga, so six islands. And in the southern group the ABD with their loan portfolio, plus the 6.5 million euro that was pledged after the Pacific Energy Summit earlier this year. We'd look at the southern group, including Aitutaki and Rarotonga. With that, the ADB put together a technical assistance package, a project preparatory technical assistance.
BEVERLEY TSE: What's the cost involved with the solar project here in Mauke?
SB: This is only a best guess at the moment, but looking at the costs we've seen in the northern group, you would be expecting somewhere in the vicinity of around $3 million.
BT: Is that guaranteed funding from these aid partners?
SB: Within the southern group there's not been a fully secured funding package yet, but there is pledged funds. So within the country strategy for the ADB there is a loan portfolio for $10.2 million if I recall correctly. Plus the 6.5 million euro the European Union has pledged to renewable energy in the Cook Islands.
BT: So what's the timeframe for installing that solar powered unit here?
SB: If the ADB board of governors... So these guys will come over here. They'll examine. They'll put together a project proposal that will be refined and polished. That proposal we put then to the ADB board of governors, who will then decide on it. They'll make an offer to the Cook Islands government, who will either accept or decline, of course. So we wouldn't expect that to go through the system until at least March next year. And then there would be engaging the consultants to drive the project forward from there. You're probably looking at at least another 12 months from the day before anything actually happened on the ground.
BT: But the land for it is all secure, right?
SB: The land has been identified. There's still a little bit of a ways to go along the project. The landowners have agreed to it, but it needs to be surveyed. And then there's the compensation package that needs to be worked out between the landowner and the government.
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