8th November 2019. The second General Assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) was held from the 30th – 31st October in New Delhi, India and the Minister for MEIDECC Hon. Poasi Mataele Tei led Tonga’s delegation to this important meeting.
More solar-related projects were discussed at the Assembly including 258 solar water pumps and solar street lights for Tonga.
In addressing the Assembly, Hon Tei said Tonga is one of the solar rich ambitious countries in targeting 50 per cent share of renewable energy in electricity grid by 2020, yet Tonga is currently about 20 per cent confident to achieve the target by the end of next year despite the challenges confronted.
“Tonga has now six solar farms across the country, amounted to about 5 megawatts in total from the required 17 megawatts 50 per cent target. We are currently implementing a 6-megawatt solar farm project in three sites of the main island where 72 per cent of our people live, and another 6-megawatt solar farm recently signed to be implemented, all on Independent Power Purchase arrangements.”
He said Tonga’s first approved grant project with the Green Climate Fund last year was on renewable energy mitigation, providing largely batteries storage for the solar farms.
“Through close collaboration with the development partners, we have installed solar water pumps across Tonga, solar freezers to the outer-islands for their catch of the day and training our youth technicians, both men and women. Six of these engineers had been trained here by collaboration with ISA.”
Tonga also has mechanisms for universal access, affordability, safety, security, and sustainable use of these assets.
“All this has been achieved with the implementation of our Tonga Energy Road Map 2010-2020, otherwise known as TERM, the Tonga Strategic Development Framework, the National Investment Program, and our Nationally Determined Contributions’ programs, which have all ben aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
Hon. Tei emphasized ISA as a critical platform to assist member countries in achieving their targets on solar technology and promoting gender balance, private sector development, and employment opportunities.
“Tonga has also sought assistance from ISA’s programs to increase the uptake of solar application for agricultural use, mini-grids, roof-tops, and affordable financing mechanism.”
“We are very grateful for the recent announcement in New York by Prime Minister Mordi at the margin of the United Nations General Assembly when he met the Pacific Small Island Development States’ (or PSIDs’) Leaders, a concessional 150 million US Dollars Line of Credit for solar, renewable energy and climate change-related projects.”
Tonga was able to join other 84 countries in this Assembly, including 29 Ministerial delegations of which 25 are from ISA member countries, 2 from signatory countries and further 2 from prospective member countries. The Assembly also has participants from important ISA Partners and other invitees.
Hon. Poasi Tei chaired the last session of the Assembly in his capacity as the Vice President for Asia and the Pacific Region.
Issued by the: Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change & Communications.
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Source: Government of the Kingdom of Tonga