WIND POWER COULD CUT BILLS ON MANGAIA, COOK ISLANDS

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By Nancy Bataillard

AVARUA, Rarotonga, Cook Islands (May 3, 2001 – Cook Islands News)---The installation of wind turbines to generate electricity on Mangaia could start before the end of the year.

Testing last month by a team from PREFACE (Pacific Renewable Energy France & Australia Common Endeavour) and two staff from the Energy Division on Rarotonga has revealed that the island’s wind resource could easily supply up to 30 percent of its electricity needs, meaning household power bills could drop by the same percentage.

The wind energy resource was first estimated last year using a computer modeling assessment technique.

After a visit to Mangaia last month, renewable energy adviser Jean Durand said, "We expected 7.5m per second of wind speed. Our first monitor reading on Mangaia was 9.5m per second and that’s very good."

Landowners have been advised as to the best possible location for the project.

Durand says a start will be made on the project before the end of this year, if further wind monitoring goes according to plan.

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