Cook Islands: Energy Resources
|Energy Consumption||0.00 Quadrillion Btu|
|2-letter ISO code||CK|
|3-letter ISO code||COK|
|Numeric ISO code||184|
|Energy Maps||0 view|
|Energy Organizations||0 view|
|Research Institutions||0 view|
|CIA World Factbook, Appendix D|
|Wind Potential||Unavailable||Area(km²) Class 3-7 Wind at 50m||N/A||1990||NREL|
|Coal Reserves||Unavailable||Million Short Tons||N/A||2008||EIA|
|Natural Gas Reserves||0||Cubic Meters (cu m)||190||2010||CIA World Factbook|
|Oil Reserves||0||Barrels (bbl)||190||2010||CIA World Factbook|
Energy Maps featuring Cook Islands
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With regard to the power sector, around 97% of households in Cook Islands are connected to the electricity with 100% grid connection in Rarotonga. Aitutaki, Mangaia and Atiu are other islands in Cook Islands that also have access to 24-hour electricity. The rest of the islands have access to small scale power. Power production and distribution in Rarotonga is managed by Te Aponga Uira O Tumu te Varovaro (TAU). On the other islands, the utility companies are managed by local government.
The Cook Islands Energy Division developed a strategic plan in 2005, based on the National Energy Policy endorsed by the Cabinet in 2002. The Cook Islands Energy Action Plan (CIEAP) includes energy conservation, the development of a wind energy project on Rarotonga, and the development of biofuels for outer islands.Promoting Energy Efficiency in the Pacific (Phase 2)This ADB’s regional technical assistance project entered its second phase in November 2011, with the Cook Islands, together with Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu, among the fi ve Pacifi c DMCs benefiting from the program. Phase 1 was approved in 2008 and completed in 2011; and it received $1.4 million funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). This phase provided support to the Cook Islands in reducing its reliance on imported diesel through demand-side energy-efficiency measures. These measures could lower total electricity consumption by 13% and peak demand by 0.9 MW.The first phase of the program also supported the introduction of low-energy light bulbs in all residential homes and raised awareness of the public on the advantages of using this type of bulb over the standard incandescent light bulbs. A total of 18,000 compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs were distributed to all households throughout the islands. The project was able to successfully set a benchmark for long lifetime, voltage-tolerant CFLs; and it established a system for recycling used bulbs. In Rarotonga, through the energy-efficiency technologies identified by the project, diesel consumption will be reduced by 174,000 liters, which, as a result, will also reduce the emission of carbon dioxide by 450 tons per year. For the households, it is estimated that they will save over $80 per year on electricity bills. The project was implemented in the Cook Islands in partnership with the power utility, Te Aponga Uira.The follow on Phase 2 of the regional program is supporting the Cook Islands and the four other Pacific DMCs to implement the energy-efficiency measures that were identified under Phase 1. For phase 2, ADB, Australia, GEF, and the Asian Clean Energy Fund provided a total funding of $8.75 million funding while the participating governments and power utilities contributed $3.67 million. Activities being undertaken under Phase 2 include:establishing a comprehensive database of energy use by sector and type of appliance;mainstreaming of energy-efficiency practices, such as the Minimum Energy Performance Standards and labelling schemes in government processes, procedures, and policies and regulations;evaluating pilot projects undertaken under Phase 1 and scaling up the adoption of the most effective energy-efficiency measures tested in the previous phase; andraising awareness on the importance of energy conservation among government officials, service providers, and end users through energy audit trainings and information dissemination.
In response to increasing power tariffs, some individual investors are installing small solar and wind generators in Rarotonga for personal use. These schemes are based on a `net metering concept´ whereby TAU allows its customers to generate 240V electricity via an inverter and feed any surplus back to the grid. This concept is strongly supported by the National Energy Committee (NEC), and is suitable for the larger systems of Rarotonga, Aitutaki, and others in the Southern Group. While solar PV can be employed at any location that allows the panels to receive unshaded sunlight, small-scale wind is only viable at easterly sites that are exposed to the prevailing winds without undue disturbance from surface roughness.
Total installed electricity capacity (2008): 10 MWDiesel: 100%Total primary energy supply (2007): 21.34 ktoePetroleum fuels account for 90% of gross energy supply, and biomass providing the remaining 10%, mainly for cooking.Electricity generation grew from 16.8 GWh in 1997 to 29.3 GWh in 2007, an average growth rate of 5.8%. Electricity generation in 2009 was estimated at 31 million kWh; and electricity consumption in 2008 was estimated at 29.76 million kWh. Zero growth was experienced in 2005 resulting from an economic slowdown in the wake of a destructive hurricane season. In the same period, maximum demand grew from 3.0 MW to 5.1 MW, representing an average growth rate of 5.6%. An estimated 8% growth in peak demand is expected over the next decade. The Cook Islands have electricity generation systems that rely almost exclusively on fossil fuel (diesel) power generation. 0.03% share of renewable energy is calculated from the solar PV systems and grid connected wind power systems in Mangaia, including the SHS in Pukapuka.In 2009, TAU generated 27.7 GWh of electricity in Rarotonga, of which 24.6 GWh was sold, thus recording an estimated 12% distribution loss. Electricity production from renewable energy sources in Cook Islands is mainly from small scale wind and solar power. Mangaia Island has a 40kW wind system with Pukapuka and Nassau having a number of small solar home systems. In 2009 the contribution of these small renewable energy systems to electricity generation was not significant.
The Energy Division is responsible for many of the functions of a regulator, including the setting of standards for the provision of electrical service, as well as standards for the quality of petroleum products used in the country. The Division is also involved in the development of energy in the islands, including capacity-building measures, both in terms of human resource and knowledge of energy management. The Energy Division is also responsible for setting the electricity tariff, and for regulation of the tariff.
TAU is a vertically-integrated organisation, and operates the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in Rarotonga, whilst APS, which is also owned by the CIIC, supplies electricity to Aitutaki, the second most popular tourist destination of the country. On the outer islands, the respective authorities are responsible for their own energy needs, assisted by grants channelled through the MOIP.
Past energy efficiency activities have comprised studies of energy-saving potentials and the provision of policy and advisory assistance, and have generally lacked a tangible implementation focus relating to capacity building and catalysing the development of EE appliances and equipment. There have also been few efforts to stimulate the sector using innovative EE technologies. There is thus a significant potential for energy conservation and efficiency in both the electricity and the liquid fuel sectors that should be realised urgently, facilitating the use of EE equipment and developing and implementing EE provisions on construction of new buildings in applicable building codes in particular. Although current fuel prices and electricity tariffs are strong market signals, consumer response is slow, because appliance stocks tend to remain fixed in the short term, high efficiency appliances tend to cost more than less efficient ones, and because of limited awareness of the potential of conservation to save costs without significantly reducing services.The primary energy consumption per capita in the Cook Islands relatively high for a small island nation, at 1.067 toe. This is primarily due to the dependence on diesel fuel and other petroleum products for all domestic and municipal energy needs.
A high reliance on imported fuel and exposure to price shocks will remain a serious problem for the Cook Islands, affecting the competitiveness of the country’s vital tourism industry, balance of payments, and growth prospects. In response, the government can try to keep the margins of the oil suppliers at acceptable levels through rationalisation of upstream supply arrangements, and regulation using a transparent and fair pricing template.Outer island electrification has been problematic since the 1970s. Excluding the largest, Aitutaki, outer island systems suffer from irregular fuel supply, poor fuel handling, inadequate maintenance and poor facilities.Electricity tariffs in the Cook Islands are very high with actual residential tariff USD 0.46 per kilowatt-hour, almost exclusively due to fuel costs. Alternative forms of electricity generation are required, and there is active government interest in proven and technically sound systems.
In 2007, a National Energy Committee (NEC) was formed to facilitate energy sector planning, management, and coordination. The overall objective of the National Energy Committee is to work closely with the Energy Division in advising the Minister on issues affecting the energy sector, in particular renewable energy technologies, and to assist, guide and oversee the planning process of renewable energy technologies. Although the activities are focused strongly on renewable energy, energy efficiency has been included as part of the NEC's activities. In 2011, a Renewable Energy Office was established under the Prime Minister’s office; the former Energy Office remains under the Ministry of Infrastructure and now looks only at electrical standards.
The Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC) oversees operations of Te Aponga Uira (TAU, www.electricity.co.ck/), which operates power supplies on Rarotonga. On the outer islands, the island authorities are responsible for their own energy needs assisted by grants channelled through the Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning (MOIP, www.moip.gov.ck/).CIIC is a holding company for the state-owned enterprises, and oversees and regulates the operations of TAU and Aitutaki Power Supplies (APS) on behalf of the Prime Minister. APS and TAU perform financial planning for their respective organisations. While TAU was established through a specific Act (No. 17 of 1991 and various amendments through 1999) no specific legislation exits for APS or for the outer islands. The TAU Act requires the utility to ensure efficient supply of energy. Under the Act, a Board of Directors is given the authority to guide TAU and endorse major management decisions. The board includes the Secretary of the Ministry of Energy as an ex-officio Director.
Degree of independence
The Prime Minister's Office, being a direct organ of the Cook Islands government, is in no way independent of government control.
The Cook Islands are a country member of the SPC Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC). SOPAC was established in 1972 as a United Nations Development Programme Regional Project for the assessment of deep-sea minerals and hydrocarbon potential. Over the years, the work programme of SOPAC expanded to include the assessment of ocean and onshore mineral resource potential, coastal protection and management, and geo-hazard assessment. Over the past decade, its mandate broadened further to include water, wastewater, sanitation, energy and disaster risk management. SOPAC is part of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SCP) since January 2011.
The Government adopted a National Energy Policy (NEP) in 2003. The policy is a long-term vision for the nation’s energy sector and needs realignment to fully complement the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) 2007 – 2010. The aim of the NEP is “to facilitate reliable, safe, environmentally acceptable, and cost-effective sustainable energy services for the people of the Cook Islands”. The guiding principles of the NEP set goals for sustainability, self-sufficiency, efficient service delivery and financial independence. The NEP aims to increase the utilisation of renewable energy technologies in the Cook Islands energy supply. Under an aggressive effort to introduce renewable energy and improve energy efficiency, it is estimated that the Cook Islands could probably reduce the 2013 level of GHGs by a maximum of 13 Gg of which 84% would be from RE investments (wind, biofuel and solar) and 16% from EE. The policy states that over time, cross-subsidies among electricity users are to be eliminated. Those who receive electricity through renewable energy systems are to pay monthly fees sufficient to meet operating and maintenance costs (including the eventual replacement of the system components). There are broad policies for overall energy planning and management, the power sector, renewable energy, petroleum fuels, transportation, and the environmental aspects of energy.The National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) 2007 – 2010 was adopted by the Government in 2007 and recognizes the need to address the binding constraints to growth existing in physical infrastructure and the delivery of infrastructure services, particularly to underpin the economic growth driven by the tourism sector. NSDP guides development and identifies programs for addressing the constraints to growth for the period until 2020. The plan will be updated every 5 years, with a midterm review during each update period. NSDP’s primary strategic objective is “to build a sustainable future that meets economic needs without compromising prudent economic management, environmental integrity, social stability and the needs of future generations.” A new NSDP 2011-2014 will be launched in early 2012.In alignment with the outcomes of the NSDP 2007-2010, the government, elected in November 2010, announced its key priorities during the National Development Economic Summit in April 2011. The key priorities, highlighting the government’s commitment to the plan, include: (i) building improved infrastructure; (ii) achieving 50% renewable energy by 2015 and 100% by 2020; (iii) strengthening public finance management through initiatives like the public expenditure and financial accountability assessment; and (iv) undertaking necessary public sector reforms.The Government drafted a Cook Islands Renewable Energy Chart (CIREC), which outlines how the Cook Islands Government will develop its Renewable Energy Pathway and its strategies to achieve 50% of its electricity source from renewable energy sources by 2015 and 100% by 2020 (the 50/15 – 100/20 policy), supported by a feed-in-tariff. Following the consultation with stakeholders, the Pacific Infrastructure Advisory Centre (PIAC) is preparing a Concept Note for the CIREC Implementation Plan for consultation with the Government and development partners.In response to the keen interest in and assigned high priority to reducing consumption of fossil fuels, expressed by five Pacific developing counties including the Cook Islands, the Asian Development Bank approved regional technical assistance for Promoting Energy Efficiency in the Pacific (Phase 2) to provide preliminary assistance to reduce fossil fuel consumption in these five countries through demand-side energy efficiency assessment. The Promoting Energy Efficiency in the Pacific (Phase 2) is implemented over a 4-year period between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2015. The Energy Department is the responsible agency for the Cook Islands.European Community (EC) support for the Cook Islands under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) for the period 2008 – 2013 focuses on the water and energy sectors based on the NSDP. The high vulnerability of small islands and low-lying atolls to the impacts of climate change has created very strong interest in addressing the problem within Pacific developing countries. Hence, Pacific developing countries, including the Cook Islands, are among the most active countries supporting deep global greenhouse gas emission reductions, and one means by which they may show their tangible support is to manage their own greenhouse gas emissions.The Cook Islands ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 20 April 1993 and the Kyoto Protocol on 27 August 2001.
Energy consumption in Cook Islands is predominantly reliant on imported fossil fuels, which roughly accounts for over 99% of the country’s energy consumption. In 2009, around 12.7 million litres of diesel, 4.2 million litres of petrol, and 9.7 million litres of kerosene were imported into the country. The recorded fuel import bill stood in the vicinity of USD 57.8 million dollars with a current GDP of USD 209.8 million dollars. Petroleum fuels are supplied to Cook Islands by Mobil, Pacific Energy and Total. Triad purchases fuel from Pacific Energy for distribution within the country. Petroleum products are mainly imported from Australia and Singapore via Fiji, using local coastal tankers, to bulk storage in Rarotonga. Diesel fuel for electricity generation accounted for 7.2 million litres in 2009. Most of the kerosene and petrol imported is used for air and land transport respectively.
Role of the government
Energy DivisionWithin the Ministry of Transport, the responsibilities of the Energy Division include planning, promoting and developing energy, establishing standards, reviewing legislation, promoting conservation, encouraging research, monitoring electricity tariffs, and monitoring and approving the quality of petroleum products, including compliance with fuel standards. The majority of activities of the Energy Division involve electrical inspection, and acting as an interface between the government and donors providing funding for renewable energy or energy efficiency projects. The Energy Division also provides technical advice and support to the outer island governments in energy matters, although it not formally mandated to provide this service. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning (MOIP, www.moip.gov.ck/) was created in November 2009 through the merger of the Ministry of Work (MOW) and the Office of the Minister of Outer Island Administration (OMIA). Its responsibility include: the regulatory and monitoring services associated with survey land information and building control; the provision of technical services in infrastructure management for Rarotonga and the Outer Islands; and the operation and maintenance services in roads, waste management, water supply and the Gensets (Electricity generators) in the Outer Islands.
The Energy Act 1998 addresses issues of safety standards and licensing. The Cook Islands Energy Regulations of 2006 were produced and adopted as required under the Energy Act 1998. The regulations govern the licensing, technical and safety requirements for power generation, distribution and consumer premise wiring, including the qualifications and technical skill requirements for the registration and licensing of various grades of electrical workers. Although recent, both the Energy Act 1998 and the Energy Regulations 2006 take a narrow perspective of the sector, and require updating to provide for the future direction of the sector and the need for institutional overhaul.
The energy sector is fragmented. A comprehensive overhaul of the institutional arrangements including increased stakeholder involvement could facilitate a transition to a more efficient framework. An integrated sector policy statement could be part of this process. Commitment to current renewable energy plans could also be made more feasible through the institution of a facilitating agency.
There is no dedicated energy regulator in the Cook Islands. The electricity sector on Aitutaki and Rarotonga is regulated by the Prime Minister’s office, primarily through the Energy Division of the Ministry of Transport.
Biomass energyThere have been no surveys of biomass energy resources in the Cook Islands since the 1980s. Approximately 65% of the land probably has light to dense tree cover with biomass energy potential. It is unlikely; however, that any of this will be, or should be, used for energy purposes, other than meeting existing demand for fuel-wood. Virtually all economically reasonable biomass-based energy generation in the Pacific utilises waste products of concentrated agricultural or wood processing industries. Neither is likely to be developed. There are about 43,000 coconut trees, considered by households as useful nut producers, with over 97% of production used for household purposes. In some Pacific island cities, there is considerable potential for coconut oil from copra as a fuel. In the Cook Islands, copra no longer has economic importance and market prices are far too high for serious consideration of such an option.Biogas Pigs and chickens, as well as other domestic livestock, represent a significant resource for biogas production through anaerobic digestion of their wastes.Solar energySolar energy is an excellent resource in the Cook Islands, particularly for atolls. The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat collected two years (1995-1996) of horizontal, global solar radiation data through the Southern Pacific Wind and Solar Monitoring Project, which showed that insolation, corrected for a tilted collector, averaged over 5.5 kWh/m2 per day. Satellite data indicates that solar radiation in the northern group is higher than in Rarotonga, but there are no surface measurements to confirm this. The island of Pukapuka in the northern group has a photovoltaic system which provides 95% of the island's power needs, including street lighting and household requirements. Solar water heaters are well established and are found in nearly all the new housing and commercial buildings. Various solar photovoltaic installations for lighting, radio, water pumping, fish freezing and refrigeration on the outer islands but not have suffered from the lack of funds for post-installation support. On the other hand, Telecom has installed many PV generators, ranging from 600-7,800 peak watts with excellent performance and high reliability due to the quality of installations and good maintenance, using well-trained staff.Wind energyThe Forum Secretariat’s wind and solar monitoring project is the main long term data source for Rarotonga wind energy, and is used to estimate the wind regimes of other islands. At Ngatangila Point, wind data recovery was 100% during two years of monitoring. The annual average wind speed was 5.5 m/s. The highest hourly and daily averages were 17.7 m/s and 14.0 m/s respectively. A Danish feasibility study in 1997 estimated annual average wind speeds in the range of 6.1–7.5 m/s (at 30 m), which is thoroughly suitable for economic power generation. Various wind power installation have been installed in the Cook Islands and have suffered from both inappropriate technical design and the lack of expertise for post installation support.HydropowerThe Ministry of Works has monitored water flows at a number of sites on Rarotonga. There were estimates in 1990 of hydropower potential at several sites of possibly several hundred kilowatts, but development costs were too high. In 1987, a Norwegian/SOPAC regional wave energy resource assessment program included the Cook Islands. The southern islands were found to have the highest wave energy resource of all countries included in the study (23–28 kW/m). In the northern Cooks, the resource was also high for such low latitude. Close to the coast of Rarotonga, the buoy measured a long-term average of 24.5 kW/m. There is a large potential resource but installed wave energy systems globally are experimental, and cannot be considered for commercial use.
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The Cook Islands are a self-governing parliamentary democracy in free association with New Zealand.