PRESS STATEMENT - The remote island nation of Niue will access US$4,000,000 from the Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund for a significant national solar power initiative.

The Government of Niue's project for the "Design, Manufacture & Installation of Solar Power Grid Connected Generators & Battery Backed Power Stabilizer" anticipates annual savings of NZ$137,000 and a reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions by approximately 329 tonnes per annum.

"I would like to congratulate the Government of Niue for their successful application to the PEC Fund and commend them for their commitment to pursuing renewable energy avenues, as outlined in the Niue Environmental Declaration 2007," said the Officer-In-Charge of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Mr Su'a Kevin Thomsen.

The Government of Niue will administer the project with technical assistance from the Niue Power Corporation and installation assistance from the Niue private sector.

"Our project will complement ongoing efforts to increase renewable energy supply through a target of supplying 65% of the peak load, which will result in a 15.4% contribution to Niue's total electricity supply from solar power," explained Mr Paul Johnson, Niue's Coordinator for the project.

Renewable energy currently accounts for 10.6% of the nation's peak load, 2% of the total electricity production, 2% reduction in fuel consumption and a reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 48.6tons per year.

"A 200 kWp solar photovoltaic system (PV) will be installed directly to Niue's national electricity grid, at Tuila" said Mr Johnson. "We will also install a battery bank to ensure an uninterrupted power supply that will stabilize the grid and allow for the installation of additional solar generators for the future."

The Niue Environmental Declaration 2007 commits to pursuing a 100% renewable energy economy.

"I wish the Government of Niue the very best in their endeavours to successfully implement their PEC Fund project," said Mr Thomsen.

The PEC Fund is a commitment by the Government of Japan to provide ¥6.8billion (approximately US$66 million) to Forum Island Countries to tackle environmental issues. Each FIC is provided with an indicative allocation of USD$4million to support projects with a focus on the provision of solar power generation systems and seawater desalination plants or a combination of both. The fund is administered by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

To date, the Governments of Samoa, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Nauru, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati and now Niue have successfully accessed the PEC Fund for national renewable energy and seawater desalination projects.