15th August, 2019 Tonga – The Kingdom of Tonga is set to benefit from a National Energy Bill which will assist the Tongan Authorities by formalising the functions of the Energy Division within the Ministry and establishing key governance structures in the energy sector. This initiative has been made possible through the funding provided by the European Union (EU) to assist in the reform of the energy sector, including development of the Energy Bill.
The government of Tonga is accountable for approving institutional, regulatory, and most sustainable policy options for the reform of the energy sector.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Team Leader for Climate Change, Energy and Circular Economy at the Delegation of the EU for the Pacific, Mr. Adrian Nicolae said, “We are delighted to partner with the Tongan Government and Solutions Consulting House Limited on the development of a national energy bill for Tonga that will foster efficiency and sustainability in Tonga’s energy sector. This work seeks to incorporate all existing legislation related to the energy sector into a comprehensive Energy Bill. Existing laws governing petroleum, electricity and renewable energy will be integrated into one Energy Bill, together with new provisions for the regulation of gas.”
“We look forward to a robust Tonga Energy Bill that reviews and revise existing legislation relating to the energy sector and aligned to the Tonga Energy Road Map (TERM), the Tonga Strategic Development Framework II (TSDFII; the long term national planning of the government) and international treaty obligations. We are grateful to the European Union for the financial commitment to the energy sector through the Tonga Energy Bill and we congratulate the Consultancy Firm that will be conducting this very important work for Tonga”; Lesieli Tufui Faletau, Acting CEO, NAO’s Office, Ministry of Finance.
Speaking on behalf of Solutions Consulting House Limited, Sela Bloomfield said, “The development of an integrated legal framework for the energy sector is a significant milestone for Tonga. As a local legislative drafting firm, we are excited for the opportunity to be part of this project and to help build Tonga’s capacity in this sector. We look forward to working closely with the EU, Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC), (ministry responsible for energy) and key stakeholders, to produce an Energy Bill that enables Tonga to achieve its national energy sector goals.”
The move towards having an energy bill is an aspiring step, one which the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications, Ministry responsible for energy, has been working toward for some years. It reflects the country’s strong commitment to lowering the country’s cost and dependence on imported fuels and to achieving its renewable energy target of 50% renewable by 2020.
The EU is also providing Technical Assistance to support overall energy sector coordination and to assist in the planning, implementation and monitoring of the EU cooperation.