“Through Wind Power, our daily life will be brighter” Grand Opening of the Wind Power Project, through Japan’s Grant Aid

On July 10, His Majesty King Tupou VI commissioned the Project for Installation of the Wind Power Generation System for the Kingdom of Tonga, funded by the Government of Japan, at Niutoua village, eastern side of Tongatapu. Her Majesty Queen Nanasipau’u graced the grand opening ceremony as well, with her presences.

His Excellency Mr. Tetsuya Ishii, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Kingdom of Tonga attended the ceremony along with Hon. Semisi Sika, Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga. Present also at the ceremony were, Ministers of Cabinet, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Nobles of the Realm, High Commissioners and Head of Diplomatic Mission, Church Leaders, JICA-Tonga Resident Representative, Japanese and Tongan Project Team Members and notable invited guests.

His Excellency Mr. Tetsuya Ishii in his keynote address conveyed his sincere appreciation that His Majesty named the wind power plant “Ii ‘o Manumataongo.”

His Excellency stated that the project will be the first ever wind power project of Japan’s Grant Aids in the world and the second project to contribute to Tonga’s renewable energy goals to convert the nation’s power to 50% renewable energy by 2020. “According to our feasibility study, this wind power plant will cut the cost of Tonga’s diesel fuel import for the existing thermal power plant by 1.5million Tonga pa’anga per year,” he said. He also stated that “G20, which was recently held in Japan, also acknowledges the importance of energy transition to renewable energy.”

He thanked everyone who was involved in completing the project “which is a new symbol of cooperation for Tonga and Japan to highlight our common goals of pursuing resilience against the threats of Climate Changes.” The Government of Japan granted approximately forty two million pa’anga for the wind power project, and it was completed 10 months after its groundbreaking ceremony in last September. Its two important components are the 5 x 275kW turbines at 38 meter high, which are tiltable and can be folded away in advance to avoid damages from natural disasters, and the Micro-Grid Stabilization System.

Hon. Semisi Sika, Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga responded that the Project is a significant milestone and tangible progress towards the Government’s objective on reducing reliance on costly imported diesel. He acknowledged the people and Government of Japan’s assistance ensuring sustainable, affordable and accessible power for the people of Tonga.

The grand opening followed a Japanese traditional ceremony, called the “Kagami-biraki” where the lid of the sake barrel is broken open by a wooden mallet. The sake barrel for this occasion was brought specifically from Japan.

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