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GCF funding secured for the USD 53.2 million Tonga Renewable Energy Project

GCF funding secured for the USD 53.2 million Tonga Renewable Energy Project

NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA (25th October 2018) — The Government of Tonga reached a historic milestone in its efforts towards achieving 50% renewable energy generation by 2020 with the recent approval by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) of US$29.9 million in co-financing for the Tonga Renewable Energy Project (TREP) at the GCF 21st Board Meeting in Manama Bahrain, 17th October 2018.
TREP, which is being developed with the support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is a key component of the Tonga Energy Road Map (TERM) 2010–2020. 
TERM was launched in 2009 to help the country address its heavy reliance on diesel fuel imports, which has had negative social, environmental, and economic impacts, against the backdrop of increasing electricity consumption. TERM will help Tonga transition from imported diesel fuel to  environmentally friendly and renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind, and potentially biomass to help meet the country’s energy requirements, with electricity consumption forecast to reach 66 Gigawatt hours (GWh) by 2020 and 107 GWh by 2030.
TREP is estimated to cost around US$53.2 million and will help Tonga Power Ltd (TPL) finance investments in  solar farms, wind farms, and battery storage systems on Tongatapu and at least seven outer islands: Éua, Vavaú , Niuafoóu, Kotu, Mo’ungaone , Óúa, and Tungua. These investments will compliment ongoing efforts by TPL to promote private sector participation in the energy sector through Independent Power Producer (IPP) agreements, lower generation and network management costs, and improve electricity efficiency. 
TREP will be financed entirely through grant funds from the GCF (US$29.9 million), ADB (US$12.2 million), the Government of Australia (US$2.5 million), and the Government of Tonga (US$8.6 million, which includes $3 million from TPL). 
TREP will provide the Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) requirements for Tongatapu with total capacity up to 10.1 MW / 19.9 MWh. These large scale BESS will provide power and grid support to not only TPL’s existing generation and distribution system. It will also support the upcoming RE projects and it will allow for the system to take in additional 4MW Solar and 3.8MW Wind Generation projects.
The impact of TREP will be a transformational shift away and it would lead towards 14,141 tonnes of reduced CO2 emissions per year. Under Tonga’s programmatic approach, the GCF grant would account for about 32% of the estimated total investment for Tonga to reach its national energy target.