“This investment signifies the further step we as a country have made towards clean and reliable energy and strengthens our commitment towards climate change,” said Puna.
The prime minister thanked the Atiu mayor, Ina Mokoroa and his island council for their leadership and assistance provided with construction of the station.
Acknowledgement was also given to the New Zealand based company, Infratec/Netcon, contracted to install the new mini-grid power stations and solar photovoltaic arrays on Atiu, Mauke, Mitiaro and Mangaia and to Tangi Tereapii, renewable energy director at the Office of the Prime Minister, for overall management of the project.
Brown acknowledged the support of the community and expressed the significance of the opening of the solar station towards development on Atiu. Also present at the opening were Opposition leader William (Smiley) Heather, and members of the project steering committee providing oversight to the project, including Tamarii Tutangata from the Cook Islands Investment Corporation and Apii Timoti from Te Aponga Uira.
The project was co-financed through grant funding from the European Union (EU) and the Global Environment Facility, the Japan Government’s Pacific Environment Community funds and loan funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to the value of US$31 million for transition to solar on the islands of Mitiaro, Atiu, Mauke and Mangaia.
Solar power installations on Mauke and Mangaia are set for official opening over the coming month.