The Tonga Energy R oadmap meeting was officially opened this morning by HRH Princess Salote Mafile'o Pilolevu Tuita at the Puataukanave Hotel in Neiafu, Vava'u. The meeting has brought together 31 representatives from Tonga's major Development Partners including H.E Dr. Bruce Hunt, Australian High Commissioner, Mr. Guy Redding, Deputy Director of NZAID, Keith Leonard, ADB Regional Director and Mr. Kanthan Shankar, Acting Country Director for the World Bank. Tonga's delegation to the meeting is being led by the Hon Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon Feleti Vaka'uta Sevele, and the Minister for Lands, Survey& Natural Resources, Hon Lord Tuita.
In her address, Her Royal Highness said, "I am so pleased to welcome you all to "Great Vavau" and I congratulate you for having selected to hold this particularly important meeting on Tonga's Energy Roadmap here as its expected outcomes will be pertinent to the medium and long-term livelihood of our people."
The Tonga Energy Roadmap is the Government's most recent effort to manage its energy costs and reduce Tonga's heavy dependence on imported fuel oil. Almost 100% of the electricity generation in Tonga is fueled by imported diesel. The Government's goal is to reduce the vulnerability of the country to future oil price shocks and to reduce the cost of electricity to the people, while meeting the objectives of increasing access to quality electricity supply in an environmentally sustainable manner. The Government has set a target of 50% of electricity generation from renewable sources within 3 years.
Following the opening ceremony, the Hon Prime Minister provided an introduction to the Tonga Energy Roadmap emphasizing the priority importance that the Government has attached to the outcomes of the meeting. He said, "I hope that we will not end this meeting tomorrow with another series of recommendations for further studies. I hope that we will be able to come to an agreement to move forward on one or two of the options that that Interim Technical Report states are available to us."
The Hon Prime Minister's introductory remarks was followed by the presentation of the Interim Technical Report of the Tonga Energy Roadmap by Ms Wendy Hughes, Senior Energy Specialist with the World Bank and ‘Akauola, Renewable Energy Coordinator, assisted by Lano Fonua of the Renewable Energy Unit in the Prime Minister's Office and a number of consultants who helped put the Report together. The discussions in the afternoon sessions of the first day of the meeting will focus attention on the specific sections of the Interim Technical Report as well as indicative funding allocations from the Development Partners.
Issued by: The Information Unit, Prime Minister's Office, P.O. Box 62, Nuku'alofa, Tonga.