On June 24, in Abu Dhabi, IRENA and the Kingdom of Tonga will hold an official Signing Ceremony of the IRENA Abu Dhabi Declaration on the Tonga Energy Road Map 2010-2020. The Ceremony is an important milestone in the successful, on-going partnership between IRENA and the Pacific Kingdom. That partnership has resulted in Tonga going from being almost 100% dependent on imported diesel for electrical generation, to having one of the most ambitious energy plans in the world
The Kingdom of Tonga is currently almost totally reliant on imported diesel for electricity. In 2009, 19% of Tonga's GDP and 25% of its imports consisted of diesel purchases. Now, with the crucial assistance of IRENA, Tonga has developed the 2010-2020 Tonga Energy Road Map (TERM), which aims for a 50% reduction of diesel importation. This will be accomplished through a range of appropriate renewable technologies, including wind and solar, as well as innovative efficiencies.
There is a long-standing relationship between IRENA and the Kingdom of Tonga. Tonga was one of the first nations to sign on to IRENA and, says IRENA Director General Helene Pelosse: "In June 2009, just a few days after I was elected, Tonga was the first Member State to come to me for help".
The Kingdom of Tonga has a deep understanding of the importance of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Says Her Royal Highness Princess Salote Pilolevu Tuita, Patron of the Tonga Energy Road Map, "For the sake of stable and equitable development in the Kingdom, we urgently need to reduce our dependence on imported diesel and improve access to electricity in rural areas."
IRENA's wide range of expertise has been invaluable in helping the Kingdom of Tonga plan for the future. IRENA helped deliver the Off Grid component of the TERM, as well as giving essential guidance on policies and finance mechanism. IRENA plans to build on this work and develop a toolkit for similar small Islands.
Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, IRENA is becoming the global voice for renewable energy, while promoting a swift transition towards its sustainable use. IRENA is assisting its Member States define their strategy across the fields of all renewable energies: bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind. To date, a total of 144 countries and the European Union have signed IRENA's mandate. 26 countries have ratified its treaty. As of July 8, the Agency will be a fully-fledged international organization.
IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency is an intergovernmental body that is promoting the widespread and increased adoption and sustainable use of all forms or renewable energy.
Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa. Article by the Tonga-energy.to.