HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 570:29 June 2011

From India to Niue

Community drives renewable energy project

Knowledge of renewable energy takes you places these days.
Renewable energy consultant Tino Vaireka is finding doors opening up everywhere. Freshly back from India and Mangaia, and currently in Niue, Vaireka is assisting the village community of Tuapa with their feasibility study.
The village which has under 40 homes are interested in installing a solar PV (photovoltaic) network and are relying on Vaireka to convince them of the merits of a grid-connected residential system, or a solar farm.
The grid-connected system is much like the system employed in Rarotonga where you feed your excess energy into the grid/mains for others to use, and then at night when there is no sun, you draw energy from the main supply. Each home has its own solar PV cells.
A solar farm on the other hand is where all the solar PV cells are located in one location and the combination of their energy fed into the grid and the energy used by everyone connected to it. Of course, there are several variations.
Vaireka has already made a 59-page presentation on the background of renewable energy solutions and the merits of the various set ups to the community, and is to give them two updates in the middle of the week, then a final presentation before he departs the island at the end of this week.
By Tuesday evening before this paper went to print, Vaireka had already completed a site assessment of every home that was to be part of this project. He will use this information to work out a design and costs for each installation.
Niue does not have net metering like Te Aponga Uira offers but if the village is successful and the Niue Power Utility can be convinced, then this may be something new for the country.
Net metering is the process where you get credited for excess energy you feed into the grid. This credit is then offset against energy you draw from the grid at night.
The village obtained funds for this initial study under the UNDP Community Centre for Sustainable Development Program.
The group driving this initiative is headed by the village MP and chairperson Hon. Fisa Pihigia.
With only one flight in and out of Niue a week, and the small number of homes he has to deal with, Vaireka is finding he has quite a lot of time on his hands. Most people who see him stop and chat to him. Apparently, news of what he is doing there spread throughout the island before he arrived. Otherwise, he is enjoying the experience and finds the people of Niue very friendly.
He is keen to see Tuapa succeed with this pilot project as the eyes of the entire island of Niue are on this tiny village. - JM

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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