Mapping out an energy reform pathway for Tonga: final REEEP report handed over

05-02-2013, Nuku'alofa, Tonga

In 2008, Tonga passed the Renewable Energy Bill – the Tonga Energy Roadmap or TERM - and became the first Pacific Island Country (PIC) with such a policy instrument for promoting renewable energy.

By 2010 most stakeholders, including the Government of Tonga, recognised that implementation of the TERM had been slower than desired and that in order to maintain momentum and interest, there was a need to take urgent action. This action was going to require significant and ongoing effort.

TERM – Improving Sustainability through REEEP, or TISREEEP, became the bridging piece to take the TERM from a policy concept to key phases of implementation. TISREEEP set out to provide a strategic and operational framework for the Government of Tonga and to identify the essential policy, institutional, legal and regulatory (PILR) issues required to achieve energy reform in Tonga.

In November 2012 the final TISREEEP report was handed to the Government of Tonga. The document identified that in order to reform Tonga’s energy system to one driven by RE sources rather than imported fossil fuels, the balance of effort needed to be tipped in favour of organisational reform rather than hardware deployment.  The report identified a number of key themes:

  • Urgency as to action – the allure of TERM would tarnish in the face of inaction
  • Simplicity over complexity would be required in all PILR frameworks
  • The establishment of  a national olicy directed at stronger integration of hardware, software (training and skills) with the equally important orgware, or PILR issues.
  • Progressing a single more responsive legislative framework based on a more holistic representation of the energy sector in Tonga.
  • Wider reform would be facilitated by more integrated and organised technology interventions
  • Broader engagement with the local community, Tonga Power Limited was essential, as is securing consensus from petroleum and electricity tariff reviews.
  • Energy reform should be considered from the perspective of the end use consumer and have demonstrable public benefit

With the World Bank designated as lead donor and the TERM Implementation Unit now operational, the TERM is in a strong position to be implemented. With ongoing institutional support from the Government of Tonga to embed the structures that will facilitate this change, Tonga could get close to reaching the ambitious 50% RE targets by 2020. The TERM process, including the TISREEP pathway, has been a valuable demonstration of the challenges for developing countries, particularly island states, in releasing themselves from a dependence on petroleum.

Further information about the TERM can be found using the links to the right and below, and at http://www.tonga-energy.to/.  The TIS REEEP report can be downloaded below.
 

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