Skip to main content

Writ large, around the world, liquid fuel (generally diesel) has a relatively small role in providing electricity and thus the "oil" and "electricity" domains have a minimal overlap.  There are, however, exceptions that are notable generally in being "islands". These islands can be temporal (power supply disruption leading to use of generators while the electric grid is restored), infrastructure (providing electricity to a site remote from the existing power grid -- such as temporary or remote military bases) and/or traditional geographic islands -- land surrounded by sea.

And, with oil prices above $80 barrel and unlikely to ever return to a few $10s per barrel, diesel-generated electricity is expensive, per kilowatt hour (kWh), compared to most other electricity options.

This makes these islands particularly appropriate for the introduction of renewable energy systems to displace oil.  Especially as the prices have to account not just for the price of crude, but the the full price of AFRICOM: Marines Test Out Alternative Energy System at African Liontransporting and storing the oil along with operating the diesel electricity generators. The U.S. military's term for this: Fully-Burdened Cost of Fuel (FBCF). With a FBCF of $10s per gallon (plus lives at risk) in remote operating areas of Afghanistan, it isn't surprising that solar panels have displaced traditional diesel generators for some Marines in Afghanistan.  To date, however, such programs have been partial -- perhaps even on the margens -- reductions of island oil demand for electricity.

This, however, is changing.

The Atafu Atoll (NASA, International Space Station Science, 01/06/09)small Pacific island nation of Tokelau is to get a solar makeover.  Right now, Tokelau is burning about 2000 barrels a year of diesel shipped in from New Zealand at a cost of NZ$1 millon (e.g., with shipping, about $500 per barrel or over $10 per gallon).  That diesel provides Tokelau's 1400 people about 16 hours a day of electricity.

This is about to change as New Zealand's Power Smart Solar will replace the diesel generators with solar systems -- and improve the electricity system to a 24/7 supply -- and turn Tokelau to the first 100 percent solar electric nation.

The installation of 4,032 solar panels (one megawatt of solar) and batteries across the three atolls will eliminate Tokelau Island Banner, Pasifikadiesel fuel use and provide consistent high quality electricity.  The original tender specification called for the solar systems to supply 90% of Tokelau’s electricity demand.  Through creative design, project management methodology, and sheer scale Powersmart Solar will be installing solar systems capable of providing 150% of current electricity demand allowing the Tokelauans to expand their electricity use without increasing diesel use.
The following video provides a conceptual look at one of the coming installations. This is for Nukunonu Atoll by Powersmart Solar and IT Power. The system will comprise of 1152 x 230 Watt solar panels or 265 kW.

Using solar pv and batteries to provide 24/7 electricity in replacing part-time electricity that prices out, in a full system cost, at well over 50 cents per kilowatt hour (compared to a U.S. average of about 10 cents) is a 'no brainer'.  While, right now, solar PV is far from a 'no-brainer' for every electric consumer around the world, increasingly, as solar pv prices fall (and other electricity prices/costs rise), ever more 'islands' are joining Tokelau's atolls as prime locations for major renewable installations.

PS:  And, in that light, a story about Tonga's 1st 1 MW solar pv installation going live:

Tonga currently generates electricity from costly imported diesel fuel.

the facility will generate approximately 1880 megawatt hours of electricity per annum, meeting approximately 4% of Tongatapu’s total electricity demand.

Originally posted to Kosowatt on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 02:52 PM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots and Headwaters.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site