Tonga Increased Ambition on Energy and Climate Change Mitigation
Vava’u, Tonga – December 4, 2020 (PCREEE): The launching of the Tonga Energy Efficiency Master Plan (TEEMP: 2020 – 2030), the National Certificate on Sustainable Energy (NCSE) Level 1 & Level 2 and the Second Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) on 4th December in Vava’u is a testament of Tonga’s increasing ambition towards achieving a sustainable energy future and mitigating the effects of climate change. The launching was helmed by Tonga’s Prime Minister (PM), Hon. Dr Rev. Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa and Minister for Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC), Hon. Poasi Tei
Tonga’s effort to reduce its reliance on fossil fuel, to reduce its emission of greenhouse gases and most importantly to make electricity cheaper and more affordable to its people has initially begun with generating electricity from renewable energy.
“While good results have been achieved, government wants to make the price of electricity go even lower and cheaper. But renewable energy alone will not be sufficient to significantly make electricity cheaper so that consumers can feel it on their power bills. Tonga therefore needs to look at both renewable energy and energy efficiency,” said Minister Tei.
The Master Plan document on energy efficiency for Tonga, TEEMP, is the key guiding document on energy efficiency for Tonga’s second NDC and the Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) as well as Tonga Power Ltd’s energy efficiency effort and the Ministry of Infrastructure’s effort on energy efficiency in building and transport sector. The TEEMP aims to reduce energy use in transport and buildings by more than 50% in 2030.
“TEEMP is another chapter in Tonga’s sustainable energy journey. Its implementation will bring greater benefits to the people of Tonga in reducing high cost of fuel, making electricity affordable and complementing our efforts on mitigating climate change” the Minister for MEIDECC added when he handed the TEEMP document to the Prime Minister for signing.
The Minister further reiterated that a key challenge to achieving Tonga’s energy and mitigation targets is having the local expertise to plan, design, implement, monitor and maintain these renewable energy and energy efficiency systems. While Tonga can choose to rely on foreign expertise, COVID 19 has taught us to prepare for events where transportation and communication can be disrupted and we have to rely on local resources and expertise.
In handing over again the National Certificate on Sustainable Energy (NCSE) Level 1 & Level 2 to PM Dr Tu’i’onetoa, Minister Tei highlighted that the four (4) regional qualifications in sustainable energy (certificate Levels 1-4) have been regionally accredited by EQAP on the Pacific Qualifications Framework. The Kingdom of Tonga is among the very few who have translated the regional qualification into a national qualification.
Dr Tevita Tukunga, Director of the Tonga Department of Energy, the institution which developed the NCSE, was also present during the event.
“Tonga’s National Certificate on Sustainable Energy (NCSE) is significant in two ways: i) It provides a pathway for secondary school children in Tonga to pursue a qualification on sustainable energy that can link up to a higher qualification abroad and ii) It provides the youths in Tonga with a qualification that would allow them to get jobs in other Pacific Islands countries and even in NZ and Australia too” Dr Tukunga said.
Certificates Level 1 & Level 2 have now been approved on November 30 by the Tonga National Qualification and Accreditation Board (TNQAB) for registration. Certificates Level 3 & Level 4 will be ready for TNQAB approval and registration by 1st Quarter 2021.
The development of the TEEMP and the NCSE is a joint collaboration between the Tonga Department of Energy- Ministry of MEIDECC, Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Pacific Community’s Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE), the EU PacTVET Project, the TNQAB and other collaborating partners.
The launching was well attended by over 300 guests, including the key implementing partners of the TEEMP being the Minister of Public Enterprises (Tonga Power Ltd), Minister of Infrastructure (Transport & Building) and Minister of Finance (funding of the TEEMP & NCSE). The event was also seasoned with the presence of the Governor of Vava’u, other Government Ministers, CEOs, Directors, representatives from the Government sector, the private sector and the community of Longomapu in the Vava’u group.
The PCREEE is hosted by the Pacific Community (SPC) at Nuku’alofa, Tonga and is a regional entity working specifically to accelerate the Pacific Islands’ transition to renewable energy and energy efficient economies. The centre is part of wider SDG-7 multi-stakeholder partnership which aims at the establishment of a network of regional sustainable energy centres for small island developing states (SIDS) in Africa, Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean.
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