Pacific Islands Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy Project (PIGGAREP) - Tonga Interventions

Tonga consists of 176 islands with a total area of 748 km 2 and an EEZ of about 700,000 km 2 . The 1996 census counted 97,784 people and showed an average annual growth rate of 0.35% for the previous ten years. Tonga has a small open economy with squash, coconuts and vanilla the main export crops that make up 2/3 of total exports. In recent years, GDP growth has been nearly 3% per year.

Although biomass remains important for cooking and crop drying energy, well over half of the national energy needs comes from imported petroleum. Solar energy accounts for less than 1% of the total and there have been no other renewable energy resource developments.

Petroleum accounts for around 5% of Total Imports by value though increasing prices are expected to increase that percentage in the future. Imports of motor spirits in 2000 were about 13,400,000 litres, distillate was about 18,800,000 litres and LPG about 1,270,000 litres.

Recent annual operational data for electricity generation was not available but is estimated at about 33 GWh with a total distillate fuel use of 8.5 ML so about 10,300 ML of distillate was apparently used for transport and commercial use.

The estimated GHG emissions from burning fossil fuels in 2002 were 104.31 Gigagrammes of CO 2 and an increase to 121.0 by 2010 appears reasonable. Very aggressive efforts in applying energy efficiency measures and renewable energy development could result in a total reduction of the 2010 emissions by 35%. Achieving that level depends strongly on the development of biofuel as a replacement for diesel fuel.

The PIGGAREP Support
The PIGGAREP activities identified for Tonga will build on 2 key initiatives: (1) Pacific Islands Cooperation Programme with the Government of Italy and (2) Energy Division's Renewable Energy Activities

1) Pacific Islands Cooperation Programme with the Government of Italy

Communiqué has been signed and proposals have been submitted. The Tonga project is the rehabilitation of the solar home systems in Mo'unga'one and Mango islands in the Ha'apai group for US$206,550. Altogether there are 60 solar systems that need to be rehabilitated and they are in different stages of disrepair. The rehabilitation of these solar home systems will ensure that the people in the islands will have access to better lighting. The Tongan Government has put in place a renewable Energy Policy that promotes the use of renewable energy technologies to promote both social and economic development especially in the rural areas.

It has been highlighted that there is still opportunity available to access more funds under the Italian- Pacific SIDS collaboration.

PIGGAREP will support this project by conducting the financial/economic and environmental assessments of the proposed project.

2) The EU EDF 10
Tonga will receive a total of 5.9 million Euro from the European Union's 10th EDF. This is generally for renewable energy for development and sustainable livelihoods. The Financing Agreement is to be signed in November 2007 during the Forum Meeting in Nuku'alofa. Tonga has confirmed that its priority project will be on Windpower.

The Government of Tonga recognizes the impact of the world fuel price crisis as one of the main Issues facing Tongan citizens, whether it be through increased prices at the bowser, or increasing electricity tariff rates. As such, the Government has embarked on a major renewable energy campaign with a target of having 50 percent of our electricity from renewable energy sources within three years. To achieve this goal, Tonga is currently working with the European Union on a $50 million wind farm project. A second exciting prospect is a $30 million bio-mass plant which is currently in the feasibility stage. The combined impact of these two projects could see electricity prices at 40 percent of their current rates, but not only would people receive significantly cheaper power but the lower tariff rates would be sustainable as Tonga would be moving more and more to renewable energy.

Letters of Confirmation
Financial management training for Tonga Rescos
RE activities survey REAS
RE developments in Tonga 160709
Improving sustainability through REEEP

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