New Caledonia’s government announced last week a new set of targets aimed in order to reduce its dependency on imported fuel and increase the production of renewable energy sources
In what it terms a “development plan” in terms of energy, the French Pacific territory is proposing to “ensure (energy) supply security” and “reduce energetic dependency” on imported fossil fuel while following a “sustainable development” policy. The move also follows a global trend of ever-increasing oil prices.
As part of the plan, it is envisaged that appropriate investments should be made over the 2008-2015 period to achieve a production (in Megawatts [MW]) in the fields of hydroelectricity (+15 MW), solar/photovoltaic (+18 MW) and wind (+42 MW).
However, there seems to be a clear preference for coal, for which the 2008-2015 objectives set an ambitious target of not less than 210 MW, New Caledonia’s latest local Cabinet meeting resolved, after receiving a brief from Energy Minister Gérald Cortot.
For the past two years, a renewable energy project funded by the European Union is dedicated to boosting the share of renewable energy sources in the French Pacific.
Called “TEP Vertes” (or Green petroleum equivalent ton), the initiative is also aiming at fostering more transfers of technology and is backed by a financial European assistance of some 5.2 million Euros (US$7.4 million) for the three French Pacific dependencies (New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna).
The EU-funded initiative focuses on solar and wind energy.
Several wind farm projects have been implemented in the past few years in
The wind-generating units span 32 metres and reach a height of 55 metres on a mast. They start producing power when winds reach 10 knots, but can also easily be dismantled in case of cyclone. They are also equipped with a self-orienting device, which allow the two rotors to maximize wind production, according to the winds direction and strength.
The ultimate plan is to install a total of 42 units on the same site, called Kafeate. But for the whole of
Wind-generated production is directly connected to the existing power distribution network, which is operated by French company Enercal.
It involved 31 wind power generators and was also implemented by French company Vergnet Pacific.
The cost of the Southern project, some 1.9 billion French Pacific Francs (CFP, around US$17 million), was met, like in the North, by
The company benefits from tax exemptions granted for investors in
Vergnet Pacific has already installed wind-powered generators on the Isle of Pines (South of Nouméa, 3 units) and on
Once completed, the renewable energy project in Prony was expected to reach a capacity of 220 kilowatt/hour per unit and an eventual total capacity of 6.8 megawatts.
In optimal wind conditions, the environment-friendly set-up is expected to supply up to 3.45 percent (about 9.2 Gigawatts) of
Vergnet believes if wind power generation’s potential was used to the full,