Power upgrades for two islands

Wednesday April 05, 2017 Written by Published in Outer Islands

South Canterbury, New Zealand -based NETcon Ltd has signed a $3.9 million Asian Development Bank contract to upgrade medium and low voltage networks on Mauke and Mitiaro

The upgrades will complement new solar/battery systems being installed by NETcon as part of another ADB-funded project for the Cook Islands.

The project is being delivered by Infratec, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NETcon Limited.

Infratec has installed sustainable renewable energy systems in countries including Afghanistan, Tuvalu and New Zealand.

Infratec general manager Luke van Zeller says the project, which will facilitate the delivery of electricity from the solar PV and battery storage system, will provide the islands’ residents with a more reliable power supply.

The systems have been designed to supply nearly all the electricity requirements of each island, now supplied solely by diesel generators.

“About 95 per cent of grid electricity supplying each island will be generated by solar panels. Any excess power created when demand is low will be stored in batteries for later use,” van Zeller says.

Back-up generators have also been included in the energy mix for when solar generation is unable to meet peak demand due to weather conditions.

van Zeller says Infratec is excited to be working with the Cook Island government and the ADB on another project which will improve the lives of Cook Islanders.

“These projects will deliver lasting benefits for the whole community. This includes working alongside the community to build their knowledge and skill-base so they can operate and maintain the systems long-term.

“Our work with the local island communities is a crucial aspect to the success of the project.”

Infratec’s approach reduces reliance and dependency on external short-term “expat” resources and empowers the islands to manage their power supply.

            - Release/CS

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