by Anthony Gucciardi
December 10, 2011
The political head of the New Zealand
islands of Tokelau recently
announced a new energy policy that would seem quite outlandish to
most individuals living in first world nations.
Abandoning traditional energy sources, Tokelau will be completely
powered by sunlight and coconut oil.
Both rich in resources and looking for sustainable energy
alternatives, the three small islands that make up Tokelau have
decided to take advantage of their abundance of coconuts and
persistently strong sunshine.
The 1,500 residents residing in Tokelau will be among the first to
experience the switch to an energy system ran entirely on renewable
'I have been pushing the issue of
100 percent solar,' said Tokelau’s leader Foua Toloa
in an interview with Radio New
Zealand in 2009.
'So by February next year we’ll try
to beat every nation in the world to become the first country to
be energy renewable completely run by solar and a little bit of
Currently, the islands utilize diesel to
fuel their electricity demands.
Most of the population, who live under
the New Zealand flag, own modern appliances that require a
sufficient source of power. Around 90% own refrigerators, 57% own
washing machines, and many households are equipped with satellite TV
The islands have been importing 42,000 gallons if diesel, 47,000
gallons of gasoline, and 15,000 gallons of kerosene annually to
meet their power needs. Even during
that time, solar energy was also stabilizing the power grid.
The statistics show just how much energy even a small string of
islands can require, and the fact that this modern society is
switching to coconut oil and sunshine to power their entire
infrastructure is a way to determine the effectiveness of such
resources in place of traditional fuel sources.
The new alternative energy plan will allot 93% of the power
generation burden to photovoltaic solar arrays, with the remainder
placed on biofuel derived from coconuts.
Motor vehicles and some cooking
equipment will still require imported gasoline and kerosene to run,
but the overall power grid will be renewable.