Pacific renewable energy successes showcased

14/04/2011

Close on the heels of its election to IRENA, Tonga hosted a Sustainable Energy Expo in Nuku’alofa. Several players in the sector participated, demonstrating technologies, equipment and showcasing projects already implemented.<!--more-->Among these successful projects around the islands were a Tongan community radio station completely powered by solar energy; several solar powered lighting and water supply projects in remote islands; telephone exchanges and cell phone towers similarly powered by solar energy; power saving domestic electrical equipment; besides several other new concepts based on renewable sources.

The star attraction at the expo was team behind Turanor, the world’s first solar powered ocean going vessel to circumnavigate the globe. Though the vessel could not keep its date with Nuku’alofa’s expo, its founder and co-skipper besides other key people behind the ‘Planet Solar’ project were present.

The vessel was held up in Bora Bora because of a technical hitch not related to the solar energy system, co-skipper Rafael Domjan told Pacific Periscope. The vessel is generating high interest everywhere that it is passing through and the backers of the project hope that there will be enough data collected to enable them to decide what course the future of the project would take in terms of future voyages.

Data analyses will also help the promoters and experts decide whether there could be scope for developing the vessel into a production model. If successful, solar powered vessels would be ideal for travel between islands in terms of costs, environmental impact and convenience, Mr Domjan said.

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<address>Photo / Dev Nadkarni</address><address>
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