ADB-supported solar plant opens in Mangaia, Cook Islands

Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of the Cook Islands led the commissioning of the Mangaia solar power plant today, which will provide improved access to sustainable energy services to the people and businesses of Mangaia.

The Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Mr. Henry Puna, led the ribbon cutting and the opening of the solar power plant, which will provide clean, reliable energy to about 500 people in the Pacific Islands country.

The solar power plant in Mangaia is the third to come online from the Cook Islands Renewable Energy Sector Project, which has been cofinanced by ADB, the Government of Japan’s Pacific Environment Community Funds, the European Union (EU), the Global Climate Fund, and the Global Environment Facility.

A plant in Mitiaro opened in May and a plant in Atiu opened in August. When a plant in Mauke opens, the project will be providing clean and affordable electricity to almost 1,500 people—or about 8% of the Cook Islands’ population.

ADB Senior Energy Specialist for the Pacific Ms. Cindy Tiangco at the event said:

“Over 500 more people will soon enjoy the benefits of solar-generated power.  ADB remains committed to working with our partners to help the Government of the Cook Islands’ renewable energy targets.”

Other benefits of the project include increased electricity output from renewable energy sources and enhanced energy security delivered in an environmentally sustainable manner. The project is assisting the government to develop an energy efficiency policy implementation plan and training will be provided to government staff working with solar battery energy storage systems.

ADB is supporting the Cook Islands to achieve its ambitious target to use 100% renewable energy. With cofinancing from the Global Environment Facility and the European Union, ADB has mobilized almost $23 million for solar power in the remote southern islands of Atiu, Mangaia, Mauke, and Mitiaro. The 2 megawatts of new capacity expected to be installed is equivalent to about 15% of the country’s total power supply. ADB has also secured funding from the Green Climate Fund to scale up this program through the incorporation of battery power storage technology.

Source: Press Release by Asian Development Bank (ADB). Photo Credit: © Asian Development Bank (ADB) via Flickr. Solar panels installed at the Rarotonga airport solar power project site.