Ambitious Tongan Goal-Targets 50% Renewable Energy by 2015

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Dear Readers,

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Dear Readers and Friends,

Do you know which of the Pacific island nations is the only one that had avoided formal colonisation from the West ?

If your answer is Tonga, you would have been correct!  The Kingdom of Tonga is a sovereign state and an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, comprising 176 islands (fifty-two of which are inhabited) scattered over 700,000 square kilometers (270,000 sq mi) of ocean in the South Pacific.

Tonga on the Globe, wikimedia commons

The kingdom stretches over a distance of about 800 kilometers (500 mi) in a north-south line located at about a third of the distance from New Zealand to Hawaii. Tonga also was known as the Friendly Islands because of the friendly reception  accorded to Captain James Cook on his first visit there in 1773.

As oil prices and CO2 emissions continue to increase, many countries in different corners of planet earth are trying to invest in renewable energy sources, such as the sun, wind, or geothermal energy, providing them with more energy security in the future.  Many nations are setting targets, to have certain amount of their overall energy consumption to be coming from renewable energy sources by 2015: Russia is aiming at 4.5%;China at 15%;Australia at 20%; Europe at 21% .   None of these nations was as ambitious as the South Pacific Tonga, setting its renewable energy target at 50% by 2015 (some even wanted it by 2012!) and already have a plan, the Tonga Energy Roadmap, for how it will achieve this lofty figure.

Now, I’d like to share a piece/clip of Tongan experience with solar and renewable energy with you, below:

“during the oil price spike in 2008, Tonga’s economy screeched to a halt. And since then, with oil prices continuing to rise, many consumers are not able to afford electricity at all.” Zachary Rybarczyk from Climate Progress wrote. Tonga is receiving financial support from New Zealand and technical support from the Renewable Energy & Efficiency Program (REEP) in the development of its renewable energy projects.  The Director General of REEP, Martin Hiller, hopes that Tonga will provide “a blueprint for other Pacific Island states that are grappling with similar challenges.”

The latest report from Earth Techling indicated that Tonga has already signed a memorandum of understanding with Masdar, a Abu Dhabi based company,  for the order of a 500 kilowatt solar project to be built on the island of Vava, to add to the 1 megawatt solar plant being constructed on the main island of Tongatapu.

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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