Battery storage systems boots local power production

25 October 2022

Nuku’alofa – Prime Minister Honourable Hu’akavameiliku said the opening of Tonga’s first ever large-scale Battery Energy Storage Systems at Matatoa in Tofoa here on Tongatapu on Tuesday, October 25 marks a significant milestone and tangible progress towards the Government’s national objectives for the energy sector, towards our nation’s transition to Renewable Energy.

“The Battery Energy Storage systems is an essential enabling technology that allows absorbing higher levels of generation from renewable energy sources,” Hon Hu’akavameiliku stated.

“The technology helps stabilize the electricity grid for intermittent generation of renewable energy and allows for load shifting to store the solar generation during the day to be utilized during high customer load demand hours in Tongatapu.”

Hon Hu’akavameiliku stated that Government’s vision of achieving 70% Renewable Energy by the year 2025, under the new RAPID PROJECT, is of great importance to the kingdom of Tonga.

He said it reflects government’s dedication towards the Paris Agreements, Sustainable Development Goals, and towards reduction of Green House gas emissions, reducing our reliance on imported fossil fuel for electricity generation through a more sustainable electricity generation supply through Renewable Energy.

“We are making solid and steady progress towards these goals. There are renewable energy projects in the pipeline, including the one we are here to celebrate today, which should give us much confidence for reaching our 70% Renewable Energy target by end of year 2025 and 100% by 2045. Again, this will reduce our reliance on fossil and hence the negative impacts of external factors such as war that usually result in increased tariff,” Hon Hu’akavameiliku stated.

The Government of Tonga signed the grant agreement for the Tonga Renewable Energy project on September 13, 2019, with a total contribution of US$53.2 million from the Green Climate Fund, Asian Development Bank, Government of Australia and the Government of Tonga.

“We understand that a lot of development and transformation is required towards Tonga’s electricity grid in order to achieve our national energy target, and we admit that this change cannot be done on our own. Close collaborations and dialogue between the Government of Tonga, Foreign dignitaries and donor partners who are with us today is required and is a priority if we are to achieve this target,” Hon Hu’akavameiliku said.

“Our transition to Renewable Energy requires several components that are essential to be in place, in order for effective integration and management of renewable energy into our electricity grid.”

That has seen firstly, implementation of Renewable Energy Generation projects where a total of 7 solar and 1 wind generation projects have been completed and the planned completion of Sunergize 6MW Solar in December this year.

Network Upgrade projects currently being undertaken on Tongatapu and the outer-islands will improve safety, efficiency and resilience of the country’s Distribution network and also allow for increased renewable energy to be injected into the power grid.

The addition of the Battery Energy Storage systems allows absorbing of higher levels of generation from renewable energy sources.

The opening of the two Battery Energy Storage systems despite the COVID-19 pandemic and more recently during the Hunga Tonga Hunga Haápai volcanic eruption demonstrates the level of dedication and service the Asian Development Bank, Akuo Energy and Tonga Power Ltd. had demonstrated to achieve the project target despite the many challenges that were encountered.

The Hon Prime Minister thanked all stakeholders, including the Green Climate Fund, Asian Development Bank, The Government of Australia, Akuo Energy and Tonga Power Limited for their joint effort.