Energy Supply

Except for that part of the electricity supply provided by Solar Photovoltaic (PV) to TeleTok facilities on all three atolls and the University of the South Pacific (USP) facility on Atafu, essentially all energy in Tokelau currently is from imported petroleum.

PV for telecommuncation on Fakaofo
Annual imports of fuel in 2003 totalled 162,000 litres of diesel, 181,000 litres of petrol and 57,000 litres of kerosene. Each atoll has all households connected to the electricity grid and power is typically provided only during peak demand periods, typically 15-18 hours per day though 24-hour power may be provided on special occasions. All petroleum is stored in drums. Petrol and kerosene is shipped in drums while diesel is transferred from tanks on the M.V. Tokelau to drums on arrival at each atoll. The electric power system on each of the atolls is in the process of being upgraded and reconditioned. The new diesel generators, new powerhouses and refurbishment and upgrading of distribution will provide improved reliability of service and improved supply efficiency.

Energy Demand


Diesel oil on ship to Tokelau
There remains a small use of biomass for cooking but most is now done by kerosene, Liquefied Petrolum Gas (LPG) or electricity. Diesel fuel used by the M.V. Tokelau is not included in the import numbers as it is refuelled in Samoa, but is easily the largest user of diesel fuel. Effectively all the imported diesel fuel was used for electricity production, the petrol for outboard motor use and the kerosene for cooking. LPG was imported by individuals for cooking and appears to be around 5 tonnes a year. The domestic sector is the largest user of electrical energy. According to the 2001 census, 90% of households own a refrigerator or freezer, 62% owner a video system and 57% a washing machine. Household usage appears to have been around 75kWh per month per household in 2003. A change to 24-hour power is desired by residents and a significant increase in energy use is expected to result if that action is taken. Commercial use is small. TeleTok is the largest single electricity user though commercial scale fish freezers were installed on each atoll. Currently they are not in use but if they are put back into service, they will be the largest user by a large margin. The absence of air conditioning use by government has allowed the government sector to remain a modest user of energy.

Energy Issues

TeleTok PV system at Atafu

Some of the issues in the energy sector in Tokelau include:

  • Near total dependence on petroleum products;
  • High access costs;
  • Insufficient technically trained personnel;
  • Lack of technical training facilities on Tokelau;
  • A tropical, marine environment that includes salt air contact, continuous exposure to constant very high ambient temperatures and humidity approaching 100% which combined is a difficult mix for electrical and mechanical equipment;
  • Access for spare parts is slow and communications with suppliers difficult;
  • There is a definite risk of severe weather causing damage to energy installations; and
  • Currently Tokelau has limited access to non-New Zealand capital funding.


Energy Policy

To assist addressing the energy sector issues in year 2004 the first ever Tokelau National Energy Policy and Strategic Action Planning (NEPSAP) was developed and approved after extensive preparation and consultations. The policy covers energy planning and regulation, electric power, energy efficiency in electricity use, energy independence, transport energy efficiency, petroleum, energy and the environment, and local capacity development. The primary focus of the policy is the desire of Tokelau to become self-reliant in energy through a combination of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. The three Taupulega and the Council for the Ongoing Government recognize the risk associated with being so strongly dependent on imported petroleum and requested that the policy focus on the long-term goal of 100% renewable energy for Tokelau.

Overview of Recent, Ongoing and Planned Projects in the Energy Sector

Below are summaries the major recent, ongoing, as well as planned projects in the energy sector in Tokelau:

Project Summary
Tokelau Power Project (TTP): The goal of this major project was a fully functional power generation and distribution system will give reliable services to Tokelau for the next 20 years. The TPP included refurbishment of the diesel electricity generation capacity as well as the distribution network on each of the three atolls. When the project ended in December 2003 there were outstanding works, which are now being addressed by a follow-up project. The Government of New Zealand funded the TPP.
Grid-connected Photovoltaic Electricity Supply on Tokelau: The envisaged outcome for this project is to initiate utilisation of the solar energy potential for grid-connected power generation as part of Tokelau's long-term strategy to working towards sustainable energy self-sufficiency. Specifically a 10 kWp photovoltaic (PV) 240V AC stored power system will be installed in Fakaofo during third/fourth quarter of 2005. It will consist of 60 solar panels, 60 industrial grade solar batteries, inverter, controller, and accessories. Initially the solar system will supply a mini-grid consisting of several households, but in the medium term it will be fully integrated with the existing diesel supplied power grid in Fakaofo. The Government of Tokelau sees the PV Project as the first step and therefore trial towards the long-term goal of energy independence based on renewable energy. The project is implemented by the Government of Tokelau and funded jointly by Government of New Zealand, Government of France, UNESCO Apia and UNDP Samoa.
Pacific Islands Renewable Energy Project (PIREP): PIREP is assessing the barriers towards the development and commercialisation of renewable energy systems, which will influence Pacific Island Countries efforts to reduce the long-term growth of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuel uses, especially diesel. Furthermore PIREP is proposing interventions to remove these barriers. Tokelau is participating in this regional technical assistance project with 14 other Pacific Island Countries. The project is executed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), implemented by UNDP Samoa and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UNDP.
PV Expansion Project: As per the NEPSAP at the time of installation of the solar power project for the Fakaofo electricity supply a project proposal will be ready for significantly increasing the solar component at the project site in Fakaofo to at least 30 kW delivery capacity and for providing 10-15kW of solar power generation on Atafu and Nukunonu respectively. Subsequent to finalisation of the proposal resource mobilisation to enable realisation will be the next step.

Relevant Resource Documents for Downloading

Below are relevant resource documents for downloading . The intention is to provide more detailed information on the energy sector including issues and solutions: (The documents are in .pdf format and you will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader (TM) to view these documents) Get Adobe Acrobat Reader here.

Polihi Malohiaga Atunuku ma na Taki o na Peleni Galue a Tokelau
National Energy Policy and Strategic Action Plan

(Only available for download. Format is .zip).
Tokelau National Report produced as part of the Pacific Islands Renewable Energy Project (PIREP) 747 KBs
Also available for download in compressed .zip format 703 KBs
Grid-connected Photovoltaic Electricity Supply on Tokelau – Hardware Specification and Feasibility Study Report 286 KBs
Also available for download in compressed .zip format 251 KBs
Grid-connected Photovoltaic Electricity Supply on Tokelau – Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 756 KBs
Also available for download in compressed .zip format 728 KBs
Grid-connected Photovoltaic Electricity Supply on Tokelau – Invitation to Tender document (please note the tender is closed) 206 KBs
Also available for download in compressed .zip format 193 KBs
Grid-connected Photovoltaic Electricity Supply on Tokelau – Project Document 229 KBs
Also available for download in compressed .zip format 208 KBs

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