Energy Stakeholders Meeting: From TERM to TERM-Plus

Thursday, 15 Apr 2021

12th April, 2021. The Energy Stakeholders and Donor Roundtable meeting which was held at Katea Retreat, Tongatapu on 8th and 9th April could be the last meeting on the Tonga Energy Roadmap 2010 – 2020 as Tonga embraces the development of its new TERM Plus 2021 – 2035.

In his opening Remarks, the CEO of MEIDECC, Mr Paula Mau thanked the support of all the development partners for supporting the implementation of the TERM. He stressed that COVID19 has disrupted plans for Tonga to achieve the 50% RE generation by 2020. “TERM was ended in 2020 and today we are going to start TERMPlus and it will go for 2021 – 2035. We will continue to achieve the 50% share of RE during TERMPlus period and go to 70% and 100% share of RE energy in our electricity mix until 2035”, the CEO reiterated.

Speaking remotely from New Zealand, PCREEE Manager Mr Solomone Fifita highlighted in his introductory remarks the impact of the covid19 in achieving the SDG7 and the TERM Plus objectives. “Not achieving the targets of SDG 7 is a major concern because we can’t achieve other SDG targets relating to the eradication of poverty, empowering women and we can’t talk about leaving no one behind and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and etc if we are not going to achieve universal access to modern energy services that are affordable and reliable” he added

The meeting presentations on the achievements of the TERM targets was enlightening. The target on reducing line losses below 9% was achieved ahead of time. Over 95% of Tongans already have access to grid electricity and projects such as Outer Islands Renewable Energy Project (OIREP) and the Tonga Renewable Energy Project (TREP) are under implementation to help achieve the RE target of 50% RE generation. These projects are expected to be completed soon despite the covid19 pandemic. New projects are already underway and will be implemented as part of TERMPlus.

Equally important is the presentation on the Tonga Energy Bill – a comprehensive legislative framework that will have a transformative impact on Tonga’s energy sector. The Energy Bill is at an advanced state and will be one of the priority bills to be tabled for the coming legislative assembly. Once passed, current energy legislations such as the Electricity Act, the Renewable Energy Act and the Petroleum Act will be override by the Energy Bill on a transitionary effect.

Development Partners and Donors who were present have expressed satisfaction on Tonga’s energy's progress and are looking forward to continued support as Tonga transition into the implementation of the TERMPlus. The meeting provided the last opportunity for the development partners to comment on the TERMPlus framework before it gets finalised and launched in Vava’u towards the end of this month.

Meeting ended off on a high note with the launching of the SDG Energy Roadmap for Tonga, a strategic document developed in collaboration with UNESCAP to highlights Tonga’s plans in achieving the SDG 7 target.

The meeting was generously funded by the European Union and well attended by many of the traditional energy development partners including the Japanese Embassy, China, Australia, New Zealand, UNESCAP and the Pacific Centre for Renewable and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE). Due to the covid19 border restrictions, other development partners were only able to join remotely via Zoom.

ENDS

For further information regarding this meeting, please contact any of the following people:

  • Dr Tevita Tukunga, Department of Energy, MEIDECC, Email: ttukunga@gmail.com
  • Jesse Benjaman, Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Email: benjaminj@spc.int

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