02 Oct “Solar Installations Gaining Momentum”
“Our story so far is one of success, as we work towards playing our part in the achievement of our country’s target of electricity demand being increasingly met by clean renewable energy sources towards 2020, and in our case this is sourced from the sun.” stated TAU CEO, Apii Timoti.
TAU is working on developing and managing a network potentially 100% powered by the sun with generation owned by both the utility and the private sector. “This is no easy feat and there is no template to follow, we are pioneering new frontiers for renewable energy on a global stage and the world is watching with keen interest,” according to Timoti.
From the perspective of the TAU Board, there is an opportunity for every Cook Islander to be involved in this emerging market, whether as users or suppliers. TAU has certainly seen a huge interest over the last few months in private solar installations feeding directly into the grid and many would have seen these facilities being built around the island.
Currently, 14% of electricity on Rarotonga sourced through solar, with the need to expand by around 20% per year towards 2020, if the national targets are to be achieved.
Of primary concern for TAU’s management is the reliability of our network. What is paramount during the transition to clean energy is continuing to maintain this level of reliability for our customers.
We know our current infrastructure will require improvements to be able to increase the uptake from renewables, and we are quickly reaching that point. TAU is working hard to make the required upgrades and create additional opportunities for further solar installations from the private sector and home owners as we move forward.
While connection of solar farms to the grid to date has been possible almost immediately, future connections, depending on their size and location, will need to be connected through a strategic and scheduled approach. TAU is currently exploring options to enable this to happen in the immediate, medium and long term. As such TAU expects new connections will be programmed between now and 2020 in step with available space created through the adoption of interim and long term storage, control and network stability technologies.
The fundamental principle guiding this work is not only the achievement of our national targets for energy, but also ensuring that our customers are well cared for.
The Government fully supports TAU’s efforts. The years ahead will be an exciting time for the Cook Islands as we progress towards clean and sustainable energy for all our people. TAU hopes everyone will be involved and are understanding of the constraints that we face and the efforts made to overcome these as we benefit from a very positive step forward in our country’s development.”