Tonga: Energy Resources
|Energy Consumption||0.00 Quadrillion Btu|
|2-letter ISO code||TO|
|3-letter ISO code||TON|
|Numeric ISO code||776|
|Energy Maps||0 view|
|Energy Organizations||0 view|
|Research Institutions||0 view|
|CIA World Factbook, Appendix D|
|Wind Potential||0||Area(km²) Class 3-7 Wind at 50m||194||1990||NREL|
|Coal Reserves||Unavailable||Million Short Tons||N/A||2008||EIA|
|Natural Gas Reserves||0||Cubic Meters (cu m)||126||2010||CIA World Factbook|
|Oil Reserves||0||Barrels (bbl)||112||2010||CIA World Factbook|
Energy Maps featuring Tonga
No Maps For This Location
Close to 95% of the population of Tonga has access to electricity, with 89% of all households having grid electricity access. All urban centres in the country have access to energy, as well as all rural areas on the main islands of Tonga. Photovoltaic (PV) technology has been used extensively to provide electricity to rural communities, primarily on outer islands that do not have grid supplier power. Transmission infrastructure in the country operates at 11 kV, with 415 V distribution lines.
Off-grid solar JICA (the Japan International Cooperation Agency) is working with the Tonga Outer Island Solar Electrification Program to install solar home-systems on 13 outer islands, covering 1,400 people. These systems will provide electricity for lighting, television, computers and refrigeration. Households will pay an installation fee of NZ$144, an amount which is seen as enough to be a serious investment by the household, and therefore likely to foster a sense of ownership of the system, whilst not being as high as to be unaffordable. The systems will be owned by the island group’s solar committee, and households will pay a monthly fee for service. The JICA engineers plan to begin installations in August 2011.On-grid solarMeridian Energy, a renewable energy service company from New Zealand, Tonga Power, and NZAid are working on a solar photovoltaic project that will feed approximately 1 MW of electricity into the grid. The project will provide around five percent of Tongatapu’s annual electricity requirement. Meridian will build and operate the facility. Construction on the project commenced on the 13th of November 2011, and is expected to be completed in July 2012. The project will involve around two hectares of PV panels, a scale that will be a first for the South Pacific. The Tongan government is also in discussions with the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, over another one-megawatt solar photovoltaic system. This would increase the solar input to Tongatapu’s electricity to 10%. Supply and distribution efficienciesTonga Power is investing in a distribution network upgrade and the associated metering, to provide the outlying villages with reliable electricity. This project will be led by the New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAid), supported by the EU and World Bank, and will be constructed to New Zealand standards. Tonga Power will work with NZAid and ESITO (the Electrical Supply Industrial Training Organisation) to have the linesmen working towards New Zealand certification, thus helping to up-skill Tongan labour. The new network will reduce line loss to 10%. Outer Island Renewable Energy ProjectThe proposed Tonga Outer Island Renewable Energy Project will construct grid-connected Solar Photovoltaic (PV) power plants on the outer islands of Tonga, thereby demonstrating a method for reducing the country's heavy reliance on imported fossil fuels for power generation. The Project will supply secure, environmentally sustainable energy to households, schools, and other public facilities, on the islands of 'Eua, Ha'apai, and Vava'u. The Project will quantify the solar resource and facilitate the integration of intermittent renewable energy with a conventional diesel grid. The Project will build the capacity of the power utility, Tonga Power Limited (TPL), in the operation and maintenance of renewable technologies. Customers will be made aware of the importance of energy conservation and opportunities for passing cost savings to poor households by way of a subsidized tariff will be assessed during project preparation.Promoting Energy Efficiency in the Pacific (Phase 2)Under Phase 1 of this $1.4 million regional technical assistance program, the Government of Tonga received support for its demand-side energy-efficiency activities. The program identified energy-efficiency measures that could reduce total electricity consumption by 12% and peak demand by 1.3 MW. The program supported Tonga Power in purchasing and installing 109 light-emitting diode street lights along Vuna Road in the capital, Nuku’alofa. These street lights will reduce energy consumption by 35% and save $12,000 per year in fuel costs.Phase 2 of the program is supporting the Government of Tonga in expanding data collection of power use and in implementing policies to foster energy efficiency. With total funding of $8.75 million, the second phase is under implementation in Tonga, as well as in the Cook Islands, PNG, Samoa, and Vanuatu. The activities being undertaken include establishment of a comprehensive database of energy use by sector and type of appliance; mainstreaming of energy-efficiency practices, such as the Minimum Energy Performance Standards and labelling schemes into government processes, procedures, and policies and regulations; evaluation of the pilot projects initiated under Phase 1 and scaling up of energy-efficiency measures that were most effective; and raising awareness on the importance of energy conservation among government officials, service providers, and end users through energy audit trainings and information dissemination.Pacific Appliance Labelling and Standards (PALS) programme, funded by the Government of Australia (Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency), January 2012. Ten PICs (Cook Islands, Fiji, FSM, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu) have expressed their interest to participate.Pacific Environment Community (PEC) FundThe Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat currently administers and manages the PEC Fund which is a USD 66 million contribution from the Government of Japan to be used on projects with a focus on solar power generation or salt water desalination or a combination of both. There are fourteen Forum Island Countries participating in the PEC Fund, including Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshal Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Each FIC has an indicative allocation of US$4,000,000 to use on projects.
The government has established a new electricity commission (modelled on New Zealand Electricity Commission), that has take over the regulatory functions of the former TEPB. While the legislation has been drafted, it has not yet come into force. The functions of the new commission are to enforce the new Electricity Commission Act of 2007; to enter into and enforce concession contracts with third parties (including the state) for the generation, distribution, and supply of electricity; to license electricians; to regulate electrical safety standards; to recommend regulations for concessionaires supplying electricity. Tonga Power Ltd. TPL is already implementing a new solar PV electricity supply on the Tongatapu grid planned for August 2012 and preparing for subsequent RE projects on the other three grids.
Total installed electricity capacity (2011): 13.6 MWDiesel: 100%Total primary energy supply (2009, source: IRENA): 47.6 ktoeOil and oil products: 98%Biomass: 2%Tonga Power Limited (TPL), the national utility, generates and distributes electricity on four grids: Tongatapu (11.2 MW installed, 8MW peak demand), ‘Eua (0.37 MW installed, 0.28 MW peak demand), Ha’apai (0.77 MW installed, 0.29 MW peak demand), and Vava’u (1.27 MW installed, 0.8 MW peak demand) for a total installed capacity of 15 MW. Combined Peak demand for all four grids is 9.6 MW. Total electricity generation in 2009 was approximately 44 GWh.In 2000, when the last energy balance table was compiled, imported petroleum products accounted for 75% of Tonga's energy supply, with 25% from biomass (i.e. fuel wood and wood waste, coconut and palm oil residues) and off-grid solar PV.The main source for lighting is electricity supplied through the national grid. In the Niuas and Ha’apai groups, about half of the households rely upon kerosene, and the rest rely upon solar power as the main source of lighting. The main type of energy for cooking is gas, used by just over half of all households. The use of gas is more common in Tongatapu than in the outer islands, where firewood is the main source of energy for cooking. A higher proportion of households in Tongatapu use appliances such as hot water systems, refrigerators, televisions, computers, etc. and have internet at home than households on the outer islands. An important factor in this difference is access to affordable electricity.
Functions of the EC include the regulation of tariffs, consumer service standards and electrical safety, as well as the approval and licensing of electricians, and the creation of regulations for major electrical works. The regulatory framework is a “concession contract” model. Tariffs, tariff adjustment formulas, operational efficiency benchmarks, consumer service standards and penalties are specified in a contract between the EC, and the electricity provider, Tonga Power Limited.
For on-grid electricity services, TPL solely owns the concession. TPL is a public enterprise wholly owned by the government of Tonga. Operation of TPL is regulated under a Concession Agreement between the government (Ministry of Finance (MoF)) and TPL For off-grid services, the Energy Planning Unit (EPU) of the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Natural Resources is the primary institutional body.The current Electricity Act of 2007 allows for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to own, operate and sell electricity in Tonga. Currently there are no grid-connected IPPs. However there are a number of isolated diesel systems owned and operated by other parties on several of the islands.
Although annual electric demand grew by just 2% in the six years, the annual fuel cost in TOP increased by almost 175% in the same period. From 2010 to 2011, although the demand was declined, the fuel use increased. This means the energy intensity could be showing some sign of increase and thus needs to monitor carefully this symptom.
The oil price spike of 2008 led to the highest electricity tariffs Tonga has ever seen, with electricity prices peaking at over TOP1.00 per kWh (approximately 55USc/kWh). This had a significant negative impact on economic activity and on the quality of life for all Tongans. The experience highlighted the risk to Tongan electricity consumers and the economy as a whole of the combination of 100% dependency on imported diesel fuel for grid-based electricity generation together with essentially spot market pricing of all imported fuel.Scenarios for future petroleum price trends indicate that on average, the price is expected to increase. The history of international oil prices demonstrates the high price volatility that characterizes this commodity. Acknowledging the prospect of increasing and volatile petroleum prices, the Government recognized that the energy sector as currently structured and operated represents a major risk to the economy overall, and to the standard of living of individual Tongans. The Government determined that it must, as a matter of priority, take measures to mitigate these risks. Reducing this vulnerability is an important factor in securing stable economic growth in the short, medium and long terms.
Shortly after Cabinet approved the 50% target for renewable energy, the Prime Minister established a Cabinet Sub-Committee on Renewable Energy (CSCRE), which he chaired. The CSCRE was tasked with evaluating renewable options, and pursuing possible funding sources with the country’s development partners. The membership of the Committee comprised the Prime Minister, the Minister of Lands (the responsible Minister for Energy), and the CEOs of the Ministries of Finance, Lands, and Environment, together with the Chairman of the Electricity Commission, the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisor and the Renewable Energy Coordinator. A new Renewable Energy Authority is mandated under the Renewable Energy Act 2009, to deal with and regulate matters concerning renewable energy. However, reflecting the earlier paradigm in which RE was considered almost exclusively for off-grid applications, the mandate of the new Authority currently only concerns off-grid installations.
The Tonga electric system was operated by the Government prior to 1998. In 1998, it was bought by Shoreline Electric, an investor-owned company. The Government of Tonga bought the assets back from Shoreline in July 2008. The current company, Tonga Power Limited (TPL) is a vertically-integrated state-owned enterprise, wholly owned by the Government of Tonga and operated at arm’s-length. TPL serves four island group grid systems in Tonga. The main island of Tongatapu in the southern island cluster is the largest with some 73% of the Tonga population living there. Other systems are on ‘Eua, also in the southern cluster, Ha’apai in the central cluster and Vava‘u in the northern cluster. Each of these centres has a diesel power station and a medium/low voltage distribution system. Tongatapu has a small 11kV network. The four island group grids have a generation capacity of just over 13MW that supplies around 20,000 customers. Tongatapu has the largest share with generation capacity of 11MW and around 15,000 customers.Tonga Power Limited (TPL) is the new, wholly state-owned corporate entity, operating under a concession agreement monitored by the electricity sector regulator: the Tonga Electricity Commission. Oil marketPetroleum is supplied by two companies, BP and TOTAL. A locally-owned company, Uata Shipping, supplies the Ha'apai group of islands. Storage and distribution facilities on the majority of the islands are owned by BP and TOTAL, whilst in the Ha'apai group, they belong to a local businessman.LPG is supplied in bulk by Tonga Gas, a subsidiary of Fiji Gas, owned in majority by Origin Energy of Australia. Marketing and distribution of LPG is the responsibility of the governmental Homegas Company.Like other small Pacific Island countries, Tonga faces a long supply chain from the refinery source. Products are shipped from refineries in Singapore (or sometimes Australia) to bulk storage in Fiji via medium range (MR) tankers, based on TOTAL and Pacific Energy's regional supply schedules, and then trans-shipped to Tongatapu and Vava'u in local coastal tankers (LCT). Thus, landed costs of product in Tonga have a relatively high freight component.
Degree of independence
The EC consists of not less than 3 and not more than 5 members. Its members are appointed by his Majesty in Council on the recommendation of the Minister. One member is appointed as Chairman of the Commission, as long as the approval of the Minister is given. Funding for the Commission is derived from levies on regulated concessionaires.
The Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) has conducted numerous studies into energy issues in the country, including the potential for coconut oil biofuels and solar energy. In addition, the government of Japan has been involved in the study of off-grid solar rural electrification, through the Tonga Outer Islands Solar Electrification Program. Through the Pacific Regional Environment Program, and their Pacific Island Greenhouse Gas Abatement and Renewable Energy Program (PIGGAREP), a number of studies have been conducted into renewable energy potentials in Tonga, particularly biomass. Maetec Engineering, a company based in Utah in the United States, have conducted an in-depth analysis of renewable energy options for Tonga: www.maetecengineering.com/articles/tonga-renew-energy.pdfIn addition, Tonga is a signatory state of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The Agency has been involved with the country in the further dissemination of off-grid electrical systems.
Tonga Energy Road Map 2010-2020 (TERM)In April 2009, the Government and Development Partners with the coordination of the World Bank (WB), embarked on a process to undertake a sector-wide review and develop an approach to improving the performance of the energy sector and to mitigating the risks. The resulting document entitled the “Tonga Energy Road Map 2010-2020: Ten Year Road Map to Reduce Tonga’s Vulnerability to Oil Price shocks and Achieve an Increase in Quality Access to Modern Energy Services in an Environmentally Sustainable Manner”, or “Tonga Energy Road Map (TERM)” addresses improvements in petroleum supply chain and consideration of price hedging instruments, increased efficiency both in electricity supply and use, development of grid-connected renewable energy resources, improved access to quality electricity services in remote areas, reduced environmental impacts both locally and globally, enhanced energy security, and overall sector financial viability. The scope includes policy, legal, regulatory and institutional aspects of the sector as well as investment. It covers a ten year time period. As technologies, costs, demand for electricity and sources of financing change over time, it is envisioned that the TERM will be periodically updated to take these factors into account. The next TERM review is expected to be completed before the end of 2012.The Government formally adopted the TERM in August 2010 and by doing so, committed to key principles for the energy sector and an indicative implementation plan. The Bank will provide on-going support to the GOT in implementation of the TERM in the form of this project. Other development partners are also working with GOT preparing support for specific aspects of TERM implementation.In 2006, the government, through the Ministry of Lands, Surveys, and Natural Resources and Environment, and their Energy Planning Unit, drafted a National Renewable Energy Policy, with the aim of “the provision of sufficient socially, financially, economically, technically, politically and environmentally sustainable renewable energy systems”. Commitments made in the policy include the creation of an adequate provision for renewable energy in a legislative framework, the encouragement of co-operation between public and private bodies in the sector, and the encouragement of both foreign and local investment.Tonga is also involved in a number of international programs, and is in receipt of technical and financial assistance from a variety of international institutions. The PIGGAREP program in the country is building on previous collaboration with the Italian government to rehabilitate solar home systems in outlying islands, and the country has received €5.9 million under the EU’s 10th EDF, for renewable energy financing and the development of sustainable livelihoods. In addition, TPL and the government have received assistance from the World Bank in load forecasting, in an effort to better direct improvements in the electricity supply system.
Tonga's total fuel imports account for about 25% of all imports and about 10% of GDP. Hence changes in the price and amount of petroleum imports have a significant impact on Tonga’s balance of payments situation and inflation. In particular, sudden price shocks can be difficult to absorb. Automotive diesel oil, (ADO) (i.e. diesel) accounts for about two thirds of petroleum imports; the rest is petrol and aviation fuel, with minimal liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). About one third of total fuel imported is used for electricity generation.
Role of the government
The key agency with energy responsibilities is the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Natural Resources (MLSNR), within which the Energy Planning Unit (EPU) deals with energy planning, policy and co-ordination.Overall responsibility for on-grid electricity sector policy and planning is shared between the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Finance and National Planning. The MoF’s Policy and Planning Division assists other government entities to formulate outcomes and outputs at operational levels, and monitors progress on strategic policy objectives. The MoF is also TPL’s contractual partner in the Concession Agreement that governs TPL’s operation.On-grid expansion planning is performed by TPL, which prepares investment plans for the four grids it operates. Investment planning is scrutinised in a two step process: TPL’s Board of Directors reviews the Investment Plans and requests amendments and modification. Subsequent to Board endorsement, investment plans are submitted to the Electricity Commission for final approval. The Energy Planning Office under the MLSNR has responsibility for electrifying areas not reached by a TPL grid.
The National Strategic Planning Framework aims to improve electricity generation systems and their management and hence improve the living standards of all Tongans. The framework highlights a desire to improve services, accountability, and revenue collection, as well the coordination of development partners. These are also core drivers behind the Energy Roadmap approach.The Electricity Act 2007 provides the governance framework for the electricity sector. It defines the role of the EC in regulating the generation and sale of electricity, and establishes the role of the concession contract/agreement in producing and delivering electricity. In addition, the Act provides the MoF with the authority to be a party in the concession contract between the EC and the Concessionaire, and to establish regulations to ensure effective management of the electricity utility. The Concession Agreement states the utility’s operations in detail, including how the tariffs are calculated. The Act also creates a Renewable Energy Authority within the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Natural Resources to deal with matters concerning RE, currently exclusively for off-grid uses.
Tonga has set ambitious goals for the utilisation of renewable energy. With sufficient and effective guidance, the potential for renewable energy in Tonga is very encouraging. Current barriers include a lack of accurate and recent data on renewable energy sources in the country, a lack of governmental and institutional capacity in renewable energy (the current Energy Road Map aims to rectify this), and a lack of transparency in the regulatory process for energy, with limited understanding of the applied methodologies.
In 2008, the Electricity Commission (EC) was established as the regulatory agency for grid-based electricity supply, replacing the former TEPB as regulator. The EC is specifically involved in regulating the generation and sale of electrical power. The establishment of the EC was legally defined by the Electricity Act 2007.
The Pacific Islands Renewable Energy Project (PIREP) has assessed the potential for renewable energy technologies in the country, and determined the following options: Biomass energyAlthough around 65% of the land area is forested for crop production (mostly coconuts), for the near term, there is little opportunity for biomass from forest products to be a significant energy resource. Timber milling is a small scale industry, with mostly senile coconut trees used as raw materials. Pine and hardwoods for export are being planted, but it will take many years until they can be harvested. However, after harvesting, there may be sufficient mill waste to provide biomass for energy. In general, agricultural and forest residues are not considered an exploitable resource for energy production.Biofuels In 1995, potential copra production was estimated to be sufficient to produce around 10 million litres (ML) of coconut oil per year. If rehabilitation efforts for the coconut industry are carried out, and if barriers to the production of biofuels can be eliminated, the maximum offset of diesel fuel by biofuel could be as high as 50%.BiogasAlthough there has been no assessment of the resource, sewage, urban waste and animal manure represent a useful resource. However, the potential is not considered sufficient to offset a significant percentage of petroleum imports, and no projects have been proposed as of yet. Should new sewage treatment facilities or landfill facilities be developed, including biogas generation, they could provide enough energy to operate the facilities themselves, with some surplus to feed into the national grid.Solar energySolar energy resources have a high potential in Tonga, particularly towards the north, where satellite measurements indicate average insolations of up to 5.8 kWh/m2/day. Nearly 20 years of solar powered rural electrification experience confirms that there is a viable resource. Plans are included in the country’s 2010 Energy Road Map to develop a comprehensive renewable resource assessment, including solar resources. A 2008 SOPAC study reported that there are 169 solar PV stand-alone systems in 6 islands in Tonga. Each of these systems has a capacity of 60 W.Wind energyA resource assessment carried out in Tongatapu in 1995 indicated that there is potential to develop wind energy in Tonga. However, due to turbulence issues, locating the turbines away from tall coconut trees will be necessary. Consideration should be given to locating turbines off-shore or in open swamp areas, to avoid turbulence from nearby trees, as well as avoiding land use issues. Average wind speeds for the islands vary between 3 and 6 m/s, with highest averages seen from May to October, and peaks of up to 8 m/s in coastal areas. Geothermal energyThere is a strong evidence of geothermal sources, however, there has not yet been a geothermal energy study for Tonga.HydropowerTonga does not currently utilise hydropower, nor is there any recognised potential for small- or large-scale hydro-electric power generation in the country, primarily due to the topography of the nation.There are sites in Vava’u which could provide tidal energy; however, it is unlikely that the cost of installation can be justified, and the potential resource has not been assessed. In addition, the potential has been recognised for utilising Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC). Due to the relatively experimental status of this technology, it is unlikely that developments will occur in the near future.
0 Energy Organizations
0 Clean Energy Companies
0 Research Institutions
<metadesc> Tonga: energy resources, incentives, companies, news, and more. </metadesc>