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Earth Power

Tokelau Becomes First Country To Go 100% Solar 252

Posted by samzenpus
from the here-comes-the-sun dept.
First time accepted submitter zonky writes "Tokelau has become the first country in the world to go 100% solar power generation, moving away from their entirely diesel power supply, which formerly supplied the energy needs of the 1400 residents of their small south pacific Island Nation. From the article: 'All three atolls in the South Pacific dependency, a New Zealand territory, will have their own solar power system by the end of October, despite a slight delay switching on the first system.'"
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Tokelau Becomes First Country To Go 100% Solar

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  • Hawii (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Friday August 03, 2012 @01:59AM (#40864985) Journal
    It is amazing that the USA is NOT investing more into getting Hawaii moved onto AE for energy and tesla is not pushing their car there.
    The reason why is because right now, nearly ALL of Hawaii's energy is from oil.
    Tesla could jump the production line to an easy 30K or even 40K for the model S and would still sell 100% of those cars on Hawaii.
    Oddly, Hawaii is setting up free electrical charging posts.
  • by Sussurros (2457406) on Friday August 03, 2012 @02:16AM (#40865059)
    Sadly Tokelau will be the first nation to go under the waves when the waters rise. I've met a few Tokelauans and they are uniformly terrific people. Their culture will pretty much vanish when migrate to New Zealand.and their kids become Kiwis (New Zelanders - the fruit is named after the people who are named after the bird).
  • It's a closed system (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hazelfield (1557317) on Friday August 03, 2012 @03:10AM (#40865293)
    The news isn't that it's a country - which it's not - but that an entire island, cut off from mainland grid, is able to use solar power as its only means of generating electric power. This makes it very interesting, and I would like to know a lot more about what their grid looks like, how they handle peaks and lows in solar output (like day and night), and so on.
  • Re:It helps... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rei (128717) on Friday August 03, 2012 @06:25AM (#40866049) Homepage

    Besides, while they may be the first to be essentially 100% solar, they're far from the first to go essentially 100% renewable. Here in Iceland we're essentially 100% geo and hydro for our electricity. Yeah, we're only 320,000 people, but we produce 2/3rds as much power as Ireland (which has 15 times our population). A huge amount of electricity per-capita goes to industry (it's so cheap, electricity-intensive industries like aluminum come here). Of the three aluminum smelters in the country, even the smallest uses more power than all the homes and businesses combined. And we're only at something like 20% of our hydro capacity, 25% of our known conventional geo capacity (plus, geo's not been nearly well enough explored, this doesn't count enhanced geothermal, it doesn't count low-temperature geothermal, and it doesn't count geothermal straight from lava**), the largest wind turbine in this super-windy country is only 30kW, and wave and tidal (there are big waves and tides here) are completely untapped.

    Note that electricity isn't the only form of energy that people use. Like I'm sure is the case with Tokelau, we import almost all of our fuel (although there's some new biofuels plants going online which should start to change that here). Also, most of our primary energy is heat. Geothermal currently makes up only a quarter of our electricity production, but it's 2/3rds of our primary energy production (most of it being low temperature geo which we've done nothing to produce electricity from - the water comes out of the wells at usually 100-140C and gets blended with cold water down to the 80C distribution temperature - power is so cheap and abundant here that nobody can justify the cost to generate power from low temperature geo). Fossil fuels (mainly oil) make up about 20% of our primary energy consumption.

    Having such a high percent of our primary energy production as heat, not transportation fuels or electricity, certainly is unusual, but then again, we love us some hot water and use it aplenty ;) Also, the geothermal heat displaces electric and/or oil/natural gas room and water heating in homes and businesses.

    ---

    ** It was actually discovered by accident that we can produce geo straight from lava when a geo well at the Krafla volcanic system accidentally drilled into the lava dome. The lava backed up the well a couple dozen meters and then stopped. At first considering the well a loss, they decided to try to turn it into a production well, and it turned out that it actually works. ;)

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