Source: Tonga Government
24th June, 2022 The overall implementation progress of the Outer Islands Renewable Energy Project (OIREP) managed by the MEIDECC’s Department of Energy is estimated at 71% completion. The multi-donor project is funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and co-financed by Australia, the European Union, the Second Danish Cooperation Fund for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency for Rural Areas and the Global Environment Facility.
The project aims to reduce Tonga’s dependence on imported fossil fuel for power generation by providing on-grid and off-grid generation solar power for nine outer islands, and to contribute to reducing gas emission and climate change adverse impact.
Two of the project’s three main outputs include constructing and installing solar power systems with a total capacity of 1.32 megawatt-peak (MWp) on nine outer islands and rehabilitating existing grid network on the islands of ‘Eua and Vava’u by Tonga Power Limited (TPL); and conducting trainings on operations and maintenance.
The project is split into four separate phases – (On-grid generation, Mini-grid generation, On-grid distribution and Mini-grid distribution), some of which have been completed while others are being implemented.
The completed phases include the:
- On-grid generation (solar and batteries) – installation of solar photovoltanic generators and connection to the existing distribution networks (200 kWp on ‘Eua, Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) repair program on Vava’u and 500 550kWp Solar & 330kWh Battery Storage on Ha’apai);
- Mini-grid generation (thermal generation, solar and batteries) – rehabilitation of 160 solar home systems in Niuafo’ou and solar system for the island’s health clinic;
- On-grid distribution 100% rehabilitation of the existing grid network on ‘Eua;and
- Mini-grid distribution (network & residential house wiring) – residential house wiring on Nomuka, Ha’afeva, Ha’ano and ‘Uiha completed last year.
Solar photovoltaic generators will soon be installed and connected to the existing community-owned and community-managed electrical mini-grids on Niuatoputapu and four outer islands in Ha’apai (‘Uiha, Nomuka, Ha’ano and Ha’afeva) under the mini-grid generation (thermal generation, solar and batteries).
The rehabilitation of 100% of the existing grid network on Vava’u under the on-grid distribution work will be completed by TPL next year in April.
The Acting Director of Energy Department Mr ‘Ofa Sefana and a team from the department and TPL traveled to Niuatoputapu on June 22 via MV Taka-‘I- Pomana to deliver the final equipment to complete the construction of Niuatoputapu’s new mini-grid.
The upgrade of the existing service lines on four of Ha’apai’s outer islands is scheduled to be completed by July 2023 and the residential house wiring on Niuatoputapu is anticipated to complete in September 2022.
MEIDECC will also carry out consultations and formalise the institutional setup for the operations and maintenance on Ha’apai’s four outer islands and Niuatoputapu. A series of consultations were conducted in 2019-2021 and it will continue on from June 2022.
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