Pacific Island 100% Solar Powered

Tokelau is a small island in the Pacific that has switched it’s entire power grid to solar, this is the first of a few islands in the region that will be fully independent from having to import fuel for electricity.

Before the solar power grid was completed, the New Zealand-administered grouping of three coral atolls, with a population of just 1,500, relied on diesel generators for electricity. Project coordinator Mike Bassett-Smith said the diesel was not only environmentally unfriendly, it also cost the islands, which lie about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, around NZ$1.0 million ($825,000) a year.

Bassett-Smith, from New Zealand firm PowerSmart Solar, said the change would allow Tokelau to switch money from fuel purchases to social welfare projects.

“For Tokelau, this milestone is of huge importance for their continued well-being,” he said in a statement received Wednesday.

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Wave Powered Boat Succeeds

We first looked at the wave-powered boat back in March, before Kenichi Horie set sail (or is that set wave?). Now he has become the first person to cross the Pacific in a wave-powered boat.

Weak waves and opposing ocean currents delayed his arrival, which was originally set for late May.

“When waves were weak, the boat slowed down. That’s the problem to be solved,” the adventurer told reporters Saturday from aboard his catamaran Suntory Mermaid II off the Kii Peninsula in western Japan.

The 9.5 metre (31-foot) boat is equipped with two special fins at the front which can move like a dolphin’s tail each time the vessel rises or falls with the rhythm of the waves.

Horie, who will turn 70 in September, reached his destination in the channel between the main Japanese islands of Honshu and Shikoku just before midnight (1500 GMT Friday) after covering some 7,000 kilometres (3,780 nautical miles) from Hawaii without a port call.

“The feeling is yet to sink in,” Horie added, according to the Jiji and Kyodo news agencies. “I want to go home as soon as possible and eat home-cooked meals.”

Horie first made world headlines in 1962 when, at the age of 23, he became the first person to sail solo across the Pacific.

Japan Stops Whaling

This is without a doubt, really reat news. Japan has halted whailing for the year, after pressure from the Australian government. A hat tip to Kevin Rudd and his fellow Aussies for convincing Japan to change their ways.

The country’s chief government spokesman, Nobutaka Machimura, revealed the backdown at a news conference today.

Japan had planned to harpoon 50 humpbacks
He said: “Japan will not hunt humpback whales.”

The country had planned to harpoon around 50 humpbacks on its current expedition, the first time since the 1960s that Tokyo would have hunted the species, which are popular with Australian whale-watchers.

Mr Machimura added: “It’s true that Australia expressed quite a strong opinion to Japan on this.

“As a result, I hope that this will lead to better relations with Australia.”

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