NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is working with the Government of Tonga to build up the country’s resilience to natural disasters and to help it achieve the goal of providing half of all electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020, said a new ADB energy report.
The Pacific Energy Update 2015 report said ADB’s investment program for Tonga includes measures to promote environmental sustainability, disaster risk management, and climate change adaptation.
“For example, the ADB-assisted Cyclone Ian Recovery Project is helping support government efforts to upgrade and climate-proof the electricity grid network and school buildings on the northeast island of Ha’apai,” said Woo Yul Lee, Energy Specialist in ADB’s Pacific Department.
The report notes that Tonga, a country of about 176 islands, is one of the most vulnerable countries in the Pacific to climate change. It also stresses that 89% of the population of 102,000 receives electricity generated mainly from diesel fuel.
The Outer Island Renewable Energy Project, supported by ADB, and cofinanced by the Government of Australia, is helping to provide solar power-generated electricity to customers on 9 outer islands of the country. This is aiding the government’s drive to reduce the heavy reliance on imported fossil fuels.
Pacific Energy Update 2015 is a country-by-country summary of existing ADB-supported operations in Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu, as well as ADB’s regional initiatives.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.