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.
- Balancing Energy Reform in the Kingdom of Tonga - TIS REEEP Strategic Framework Report - Nov 2012.pdf
The Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency (REEEP) today signed an agreement with the Honourable Lord Ma’afu, Tonga’s Minister of Lands, Survey, Natural Resources, Energy, Environment and Climate Change, to provide funds that will be instrumental in enabling the Tonga Energy Roadmap to be developed according to plan.
Lord Ma’afu and REEEP's DG Martin Hiller shake hands following the signing ceremony at World Future Energy on 17th January.
The Tonga Energy Roadmap (TERM) is an ambitious ten-year plan which aims to decrease the country’s dependence on expensive imported fossil fuels, to increase energy efficiency, and to provide a significant share of the country’s energy needs from renewable sources. Taken together, these measures will represent a dramatic restructuring of Tonga’s energy sector.
This REEEP funding will lay the actual foundations for the rollout of the TERM, enabling the drafting of the legislative framework, and the making of specific recommendations on how institutions should be structured or adapted to realise the plan. The signing ceremony took place at the 2012 World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.
“The provision of technical assistance for the legislative review is fundamental to the energy sector reform for the Kingdom of Tonga,” said Lord Ma’afu, the Hon. Minister of Lands, Natural Resources, Environment and Climate, “and this project confirms REEEP’s status as a valuable development partner, reaffirming its commitment to helping Tonga towards a clean energy future.”
Martin Hiller, the Director General of REEEP noted that “we are really pleased to be taking such a strategic role in enabling the planning for Tonga’s energy future. We’re particularly interested because the Tonga Energy Roadmap could also become a blueprint for other Pacific Island states that are grappling with similar challenges.”