NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $12.2 million grant for the Renewable Energy Project, which is under the Pacific Renewable Energy Investment Facility. Approved in 2017 by ADB, the facility finances renewable energy projects in the 11 smallest Pacific island developing member countries with an overall estimated cost of $750 million, with ADB providing up to $200 million.
The project will help improve the development and implementation of renewable energy projects in Tonga, enhancing the country’s energy security and reducing carbon emissions. ADB will also administer grants worth $29.9 million from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and $2.5 million provided by the Government of Australia for the project.
“The project will reduce the country’s dependency on imported fossil fuel for power generation,” said the Energy Division Director of ADB’s Pacific Department Mr. Olly Norojono. “Providing Tonga’s population with better access to clean, resilient, and affordable electricity at a lower cost, particularly those in the outer islands where energy access is low and limited, will help the country achieve a more inclusive and sustainable future.”
ADB, GCF, and the Australian government’s assistance will help Tonga transition its energy mix from being carbon intensive (at about 90% share) to a cleaner and more sustainable source through renewable energy resources. The project will also provide technical solutions, such as battery energy storage systems, as well as capacity building efforts to promote more private sector investments in renewable energy, which will help Tonga meet its 50% renewable energy target by 2020 and 70% by 2030.
Main components of the project include the installation of battery energy storage system in Tongatapu; development of grid-connected renewable energy generation on the outer islands of ‘Eua and Vava’u; establishment of a renewable-based hybrid systems and mini-grids on the outer islands of O’ua, Tungua, Kotu, Mo’unga’one, and Niuafo’ou; and building of capacity of executing entities and communities, including women, to operate and maintain assets.
ADB is helping the Pacific region prepare for a renewable energy future with a three-tiered approach that promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy; maximizes access to energy for all; and promotes energy sector reform, capacity building, and effective governance.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.