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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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  • Re:Hawii (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Friday August 03, 2012 @02:02AM (#40864997) Homepage

    The cheapest Tesla car starts at ~$50k, not really within reach of the average citizen.

  • It helps... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bky1701 (979071) on Friday August 03, 2012 @02:11AM (#40865033) Homepage
    that they are a pacific island with a population of 1400.

    Not that far from saying something like Sealand is the first nation to adopt bitcoin as a national currency, which I am sure they would if they thought they could profit off it.
  • Cost (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thegarbz (1787294) on Friday August 03, 2012 @02:18AM (#40865073)

    Well PV actually is quite cost effective against the carbon alternatives in this case. Not only is the country small making this project quite easy, but it's in the middle of nowhere so shipping costs for carbon based energy sources were equal to the cost of energy itself. One article mentioned that they were spending $800000 on shipping $1m worth of diesel every year.

    I can see how solar PV could pay for itself quite quickly in this case.

  • Re:Hawii (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03, 2012 @02:22AM (#40865091)

    I doubt that's true after you factor the fact that virtually everything has to be shipped in. So, they may make more money nominally, but I doubt it goes as far as you expect.

  • Re:Hawii (Score:4, Insightful)

    by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Friday August 03, 2012 @02:44AM (#40865171) Journal

    I doubt that's true after you factor the fact that virtually everything has to be shipped in. So, they may make more money nominally, but I doubt it goes as far as you expect.

    Almost everything I buy in the continental US is shipped/flown in, as well, from sardines to salmon, mandarins to garlic, as well as small appliances and almost everything electronic (including wire), and of course cars.

    It seems to me that the only thing I routinely spend my money on that is produced domestically is gasoline (which may or may not be made from domestic crude), warm-blooded meat, and [some] vegetables.

    Everything else comes over on a boat or a plane.

    Hawaii may not be as relatively bad off as you implicitly suggest.

  • Re:Cost (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03, 2012 @03:18AM (#40865325)

    Well, exactly the same "power will fail" scenario will happen if someone uses all the diesel before the supply ship arrives, or the generator fails or...
    Redundancy is a good thing in any critical infrastructure.
    On the other hand, on-going cash-flow requirements for fossil fuel are dealt with quite nicely by doing this.

  • Re:It helps... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tinkerton (199273) on Friday August 03, 2012 @03:24AM (#40865365)

    It's like saying Tokelau is the first village to go solar but then it wouldn't be news.

  • Re:Hawii (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Friday August 03, 2012 @05:46AM (#40865941)
    One of Hawaii's major economic activities is tourism. I imagine they are very concerned about anything which might alter their postcard-perfect natural landscape. When the tourist trade is responsible for nearly a fourth of the state GDP, much caution is exercised in anything which might impact it.
  • More solar bashing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grayhand (2610049) on Friday August 03, 2012 @06:11AM (#40866021)
    I'm always shocked at the venom aimed at solar and wind power on Slashdot. I can't think something much geekier or high tech than solar cells. I constantly see posts about how wildly impractical they are and how they create more CO2 than coal power with no facts to back any of it up. The fact is, and yes I have run the numbers, without government subsidies the payback is no more than 5 to 7 years and depending on location and power needs it can be less. With subsidies depending on the area it's usually 3 to 5 years for payback. Considering bank interest is at best a couple of percent it's a staggering return on your investment considering they'll likely power your house for 30 years, 25 to 35 depending on how much excess capacity you initially install. They will continue to produce usable power for another 15 to 25 years. I've never seen evidence suggesting that enough solar cells to power your house releases more CO2 to make than 30 years of coal based electricity. If there's actual data I'd love to see it! As to wind power contributing as much as coal fire I can firmly call bullshit on that one since I can assemble a windmill out of scrap parts and an alternator out of a junk car. The technology isn't that different than a portion of what runs your car so there's simply no way a wind mill large enough to power a home takes more CO2 to produce than a car. Also once it's set up it contributes no CO2. Localized solar cells require no infrastructure saving a massive amount of resources needed to support power line and substations. Also substations use large amounts of PCBs, a very bad thing to have laying around. The argument always descends into a "nuclear good" "solar bad". Ignoring all the problems we've had with nuclear and I'm not talking about just Russia and Japan, we have our own places like Hanford. Even under the most ideal situation with flawless performance nuclear needs a massive distribution network. Also as much of the east coast found out this summer when it goes down vast areas are screwed. Guess what happens when your neighbors solar cells stop working? You still have AC like the rest of the neighborhood with solar cells. No one is suggesting we dump all other forms of energy and focus on solar although I've heard people try to claim we should drop everything in favor of nuclear. The flaw in that plan being without a massive infrastructure of breeders and reprocessing plants that don't exist we run out of fuel for the reactors in something like 40 years if we switched over entirely. Let's drop the my teams better than your team approach to solving the energy crisis and use what works best in each situation. Lets give them credit for what they are doing switching to a sustainable solution that works for them. I noticed multiple well modded posts saying what they did doesn't count. Personally I think it counts for a lot. They are leading by example and the least we can do is not whine about it!
  • Re:It helps... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Friday August 03, 2012 @07:51AM (#40866427) Homepage

    It has to do with the fact that hydrogen fuel is a stupid idea, and while the concept that it is never really sank in, the effects of it (aka, the lack of nearly any hydrogen vehicles, let alone affordable ones) did. So Iceland has been pushing a bit more toward EVs, although not hard yet. I plug my car in the EV charging station at Kringlan - but that's the only one I know of (I'm sure there are more, but they're not common).

    It'll come in time.

  • Re:Hawii (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekmux (1040042) on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:25AM (#40867127)

    The cheapest Tesla car starts at ~$50k, not really within reach of the average citizen.

    Add 10 years worth of ever-rising gas prices to that cost, and that sticker becomes a hell of a lot less shocking to the average citizen (especially if free electrical charging posts are available in the area)

    Add mass-production to that model and drop the cost by $10 - $15K.

  • Re:Hawii (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jimicus (737525) on Friday August 03, 2012 @10:01AM (#40867523)

    Everything else comes over on a boat or a plane.

    Economies of scale. It comes over on a whacking great container ship along with 49,999 other identical items.

  • Re:Hawii (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday August 03, 2012 @10:31AM (#40867863) Homepage Journal

    Almost everything I buy in the continental US is shipped/flown in

    Most of your food is grown domestically, not just meat. Vegetable oil comes from corn, soybeans, or canola, all three of which we export megatons of, most vegetables are grown here as well.

    Copper, gold, bauxite, and other mined materials also come from here. The US is blessed with an abundance of raw materials. Your wire and pipes are likely produced domestically [google.com] (I used to work at that factory). "Japanese" and "Korean" autos are built in the US, as well as domestic models.

    US manufacturing's death has been greatly exaggerated.

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