Let me guess…bio-fuels?

I’ll bet that various wombles will start to suggest that Pacific nations use bio-fuels instead of diesel. While you may think that has merit it actually doesn’t. About the only thing available is coconut oil, and that is a tradeable commodity on world markets. If you divert production from copra and edible oils into fuel then everyone loses. Although the country would no longer use foreign cash reserves to buy diesel it would also not earn foreign cash either from its exports.

It is one of the other not both. Capacity cannot and will not ever be increased. I have several folders of research on this, especially in Samoa. Bio-fuel works on a small scale…for say a school, or a village, but it fails when you have to start fuelling massive power stations. The hardest part is collecting the feed-stock and when people want $2 a coconut to pick them up it fails utterly.

Several Pacific Island Prime Ministers are in Auckland today for a summit to drum up money to reduce the islands’ dependence on diesel for energy. 

The summit is one of the largest international meetings to be held in New Zealand and tens of millions of dollars of donor and loan funding is expected to be announced. The EU alone is expected to announce more than $14 million for energy projects, and Mr McCully said the summit was also to encourage more private sector investment.

He said many Pacific countries relied on diesel for more than 95 per cent of their energy needs, spending on average about 10 per cent of their GDP on importing it. About 80 renewable energy projects had been identified to help slash that back.

Others attending include Helen Clark, the head of the United Nations Development Programme.

Other potential solution involve high technology like wind or hydro…ask anyone who works in the islands about how that will pan out.


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  • PlanetOrphan

    About time someone designed a Hurricane capable, Wind Turbine.

    • kohibruce

      Explorers didn’t call the area the Pacific for nothing – much of the time there is little wind and some of the time there is too much for anything less than the hurricane capable wind turbine.

      • PlanetOrphan

        Bring back the furlable windmills with sailcloth blades or maybe drop the whole thing into the ground for the bad weather.

        Or figure out how to burn coral reef and sand ?

  • Lofty

    @ PlanetOrphan…M8

    • PlanetOrphan

      Thanks M8! ;-))

  • Hang him

    Perhaps these guys need to start looking at offshore oil exploration.

  • JC

    There’s actually nothing that can be done for small islands beyond whats already being done. Diesel is a perfectly acceptable solution.. that or stop pretending that an atoll is anything more than a place where subsistence living rules.


  • PlanetOrphan

    Tidal pool generators maybe?
    i.e Raised concrete containers offshore.

  • Lofty

    A small nuclear power station, and undersea cabling to outlying islands…easy, clean, cheap.

    • kohibruce

      IF a small nuke with a couple of engineers/operators can power a ship then there is reason to believe that a similar setup could be feasible in the islands,

    • PlanetOrphan

      If you can’t even egineer a wind turbine that’s hurricane proof…
      A nuclear power plant needs secondary redundant power supplies, how are you going to do that in the middle of a typhoon ?
      Let alone get nuclear fuel to and from the islands, how much money do you think they have to spend ?

  • kohibruce

    Great comment