Tonga elected to top energy body

15/04/2011

Tonga is making news in the energy sector on several fronts. Last week it was elected as a member of the International Renewable Energy Agency’s Council (IRENA), during a high profile meeting in the United Arab Emirates.<!--more-->

Established in January 2009, IRENA’s mandate, which has been endorsed by 148 countries besides the members of the European Union, is to promote the adoption and sustainable use of all forms or renewable energy.

“This is the first time that a Pacific Island country has been elected to such an important international body,” ‘Akau’ola, the Special Advisor to Tonga’s Prime Minister told Pacific Periscope in Nuku’alofa.

Elected with the support of other Pacific Island nations, Tonga will share the table with major countries such as France, Germany, Australia and the United States, as part of the 21-member council that also includes developing countries like Senegal, Eritrea and Mali. Tonga is the only Pacific Island country to be elected.

Stung by peak oil prices in 2008, Tonga has set itself the task of reforming its energy sector with a 10-year road map. It is being assisted by as many as 17 international agencies in achieving the many goals it has set – increasing renewable energy generation being one of them.

The road map looks at everything concerning energy – from fuel imports and transportation to generation, distribution, pricing and administration – with a view to raising efficiency and cutting costs, ‘Akau’ola said.

International agencies already see the road map as a possible template to help other developing nations achieve better efficiencies in fossil fuel based energy generation while developing alternative renewable energy generation projects at the same time.

‘Akau’ola said there will be many investment opportunities in the sector not only in Tonga but throughout the region.

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Photo / Dev Nadkarni

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