Energy Efficiency To Help Tonga's Economy

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Efficient appliances donation from China

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, September 18, 2015) – Energy efficient lights and air conditioning units were today received by the Tonga government to help reduce the consumption of electricity.

The Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Energy (MEIDECC), Hon Siaosi Sovaleni, accepted the donation from Chinese Ambassador HE Mr Huang Huaguang, at the National Emergency Management Office today, Friday, 18 September.

The gift included over 500 HAIER air conditioning systems and 27,561 LED lights (lamps). Later in the year, 1500 solar LED street light systems will also be delivered as part of the assistance by China’s National Development and Reform Commission.

Hon Sovaleni said the cost of relying on imported energy sources is increasing and was a financial constraint for a small economy like Tonga’s that needed to reduce its energy costs and consumption.

"However, the biggest costs are the worst impacts of increasing use of fossil fuels in our environment, and that is climate change," he added.

"We need energy for our economic development, industries for transportation, lighting and practically any activity we can imagine. There is not a facet of our economy that we can operate without energy."

He said that Tonga was also making progress with solar energy generation.

Energy efficiency

Meanwhile, the acting director of the energy department of MEIDECC, Kakau Foliaki, said that they were still working on a plan for the distribution of the air conditioning units and LED lights throughout Tonga, and also waiting for the street lights to arrive.

ªThere are more than 100 air conditioning units in government buildings and hospitals right now that are really inefficient, and they will be replaced with new energy efficient ones," he said. The other air conditioning units and lights would be installed in government buildings and projects in different island groups.

"The issue now is that we have a lot of equipment but we need funds to install it. So we are looking for finance to help with the installation," he said. A training programme will be conducted next week for technicians on how to install the units.

Kakau said the Energy department was also working on a standard for electrical appliances in Tonga that would ensure energy efficient appliances are imported rather than inefficient ones and this eventually would save Tonga a lot on its fuel imports for electricity generation.

"But it’s not just about installing efficient appliances - there also needs to be more awareness and training on how to conserve energy while using the equipment," he said.

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