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This section outlines official Press and Media Statements issued by the Ministry of Information and Communications in addition to Press Releases from the Prime Minister's Office and other Government Ministries and Departments.

Global summit signals progress for Tonga’s energy road map

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15 July 2011  The first governing Council meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), in which Tonga took part as a sitting member, concluded this week with a forward looking approach to issues of global renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Prime Minister Lord Tu'ivakano said: "This is very exciting for Tonga. We are determined to move forward with renewable energy and it is an honour for Tonga to be elected to the IRENA Council, not only for our benefit, but also for our Pacific family who share our renewable energy vision."

Founded in 2009, IRENA currently has 148 member states - including nine from Oceania - as well as the European Union. The recent Council meeting at the IRENA's headquarters in Abu Dhabi also endorsed the Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano as Chairman of the Agency's Governance and Legal Committee. At the summit, Director-General Adnan Amin gave an overview of activities since the group's first General Assembly session in April, including operational and programmatic progress. This covered projects initiated in the areas of Innovation and Technology, Knowledge Management, Capacity Building and Policy Advice, engaging actors across the renewable energy sector.

The Council also approved selection procedures for a US$350 million partnership between IRENA and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, targeted at concessional loans for energy projects in developing countries. "Tonga's membership in IRENA means that we can access resources to help us achieve our goal of having 50% of our energy consumption from renewable sources in 2012.

This is an important part of the Tonga Energy Road Map, which is a priority for Government," added the Prime Minister.

Days after the IRENA Council Meeting, Acting Prime Minister Hon. Samiu Vaipulu also signed a development agreement with the New Zealand Government on 13 July in Nuku'alofa, reaffirming assistance of more than NZ$8 million for the energy sector. This includes NZ$2.5 million towards a 1MW solar PV pilot plant to be constructed by the end of 2012, co-funded with other development partners.

The solar plant will contribute 1.8GW of electricity annually, or 15% of daytime consumption, and is expected to offset about 450,000 litres of diesel and 1,100 tonnes of CO2 equivalent each year.

Progress on the Tonga Energy Road Map can be tracked on the website http://www.tonga-energy.to


Issued by the:
Prime Minister's Office, Nuku'alofa, 2011. IRENA Meeting - July 10-11, 2011. (Photo courtesy: IRENA)

Last Updated ( Friday, 22 July 2011 23:27 )
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