Neiafu, VAVA’U – November 23, 2020: 1.40pm (NUKU’ALOFA TIMES): The Private Sector has a crucial role to play in bridging the renewable energy gap and government will support those wanting to invest in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Director of Energy Dr Tevita Tukunga said in Vava’u in October.
He said the the tourism industry in Vava’u, the demand for 24 hours electricity supply for its outer islands and a transition to non-fossil fuel transportation are investment opportunities that would assist to achieve Tonga’s renewable energy targets.
Dr Tukunga, the Director of Energy with MEIDECC, made the statement when he opened an Energy investment Meeting at Neiafu, Vava’u on October 13.
He said Tonga has a highly ambitious energy target of reaching 50% by 2020 and the private sector investments were needed to achieve this target.
“We have reached 2020 but we have not reached the 50% Renewable Energy target yet. As of 2019, we were at around 10%. This means that about 90% of the energy is still generated from dirty fossil fuels, emitting the unwanted poisonous gases that are causing climate change,” he said.
The Pacific Community’s Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE) highlight its Business Plan 2021- 2025 and how it could support investments in Vava’u and eventually to Tonga’s energy target.
These include targeted mentoring and technical support for the start-up of small businesses relating to renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Furthermore, PCREEE will support tourism operators and individuals who may want to explore investments in electric vehicles and renewable energy powered boats.
Mr Jesse Benjamin of the PCREEE said globally and throughout the region, the demand for 24 hours electricity supply is being met with new investments on renewable energy mini-grids.
“PCREEE would be assisting those who would like to invest on transforming the existing standalone solar systems in the outer islands of Vava’u into renewable energy mini-grids that would provide reliable power for various households and business activities. Vava’u needs investments on Energy Efficiency if it has to minimize losses and wastages and the PCREEE would be providing assistance in this area,” he said.
The meeting appreciated that increased investments must be met with a better trained local work force.
The meeting was updated on a joint initiative by the MEIDECC, the Tonga National Qualification and Accreditation Board (TNQAB), the EU PacTVET and the PCREEE to develop a national qualification on sustainable energy Levels 1 – 4. Once completed, the National Qualification will be the first of its kind in Tonga and also the region as no other PIC has nationalised the regional qualification on sustainable energy. Participants were informed that Certificate 1 & 2 under the SE Qualification is expected to be completed and registered hopefully by the end of 2020 and Certificate 3 & 4 maybe carried forward next year for registration and accreditation.
The meeting was jointly organised by the Department of Energy of MEIDECC and the SPC PCREEE.
The MEIDECC Office in Vava’u and TNQAB also assisted in the training.
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