HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Harnessing Our Oceans for Energy
Research is currently being carried out in the area of renewable energy derived from one of our most valuable resources within the Pacific, the ocean.
Dr. Rafiuddin Ahmed is from the Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of the South Pacific (USP). Dr. Ahmed has been on the island for the past week as part of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and USP Renewable Energy Project, also accompanied by a current masters student of USP, Sandeep Reddy. The project aims to develop and implement renewable energy solutions that use the ocean’s energy within Pacific Island countries. Dr. Ahmed says the project is valuable, as it is vital when moving forward in the area of renewable energy that the energy comes from a diverse range of renewable resources, not just solar or wind resources. Reddy’s topic for his Masters is the assessment of ocean energy resources in Pacific Island countries, so his input will also contribute to his personal research.
Ahmed and Reddy have been carrying out tests in Avana, Rutaki and Avaavaroa passages, investigating currents within the passages, as well as measuring temperatures in the deep sea off Rarotonga. Two instruments were brought over from Fiji for the testing. One is called a Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) Gauge, used for temperature measurements, the other a Flow Probe, used for measuring ocean currents. Ahmed says these tests are only “initial” tests and the data collected will be used to determine the best site to deploy what is called an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler or ADCP. This instrument uses the Doppler effect to measure water current velocities. Dr. Ahmed commented that wave energy is one of the fastest growing areas in renewable energy technology and this instrument, which once implemented will collect data for approximately a three-month period, would determine the most suitable site for wave-energy generation in Rarotonga.
In addition to this, two devices called Integrated Renewable Energy Resource Assessment Systems (IRERAS) are being shipped to the Cook Islands, expected to arrive around June. The IRERAS will be set up in two separate sites on Rarotonga and each one has six sensors. The sensors measure wind speed, wind direction, temperature, barometric pressure, rainfall and relative humidity. Whilst initially the data collected from the IRERAS will go directly back to computers based in USP Fiji for research purposes, after this time both the instruments will belong to the Renewable Energy Division of the Prime Ministers Office. Dr. Ahmed says the IRERAS are invaluable for climate change monitoring and that the onus is now firmly on the government of the Cook Islands in capitalizing on the opportunities provided by having instruments of this caliber at their disposal.
The funding for the overall project is coming predominantly from the Korean government, however USP is contributing some of the funding and the Taiwanese government is funding tidal research being conducted within Fiji. Similar testing has already been carried out in Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Nauru. Dr. Ahmed and Reddy will depart for New Zealand today. -Ngariki Ngatae

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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