New Zealand will fund construction of one megawatt photovoltaic solar power plant in Tonga.
Announcing the plan as leaders gathered in Auckland for the 42nd Pacific Island forum, New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, said his country would invest $NZ7.9 million in the project through an agreement with the Tongan Government, Tonga Power Ltd and Meridian Energy.
Lord Tu’ivakano, Tonga’s Prime Minister, welcomed New Zealand’s commitment to the project saying: “The construction of a solar plant on Tongatapu will support the Tongan Government’s energy road map, a 10-year plan to reduce reliance on imported fuel for energy generation.
“The Tongan Government is grateful for such assistance which will contribute to Tonga’s target of reducing fossil fuel use by 50 per cent by the end of 2012.”
Mr McCully said reliance on expensive fossil fuels and the promotion of renewable energy would be high on the list of forum leaders’ talks.
“We want to share our considerable knowledge of this sector with our Pacific neighbours,” he said. “Meridian Energy’s experience in solar energy makes them a logical partner for the Tongatapu solar project.
- By John Andrews in Auckland for TMN