Energy is not a luxury but a factor of production. It is a means to an end. It can increase productivity, unlock people’s development potential and talents and lift people out from poverty.
Their Majesties, King Taufa’ahau Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u, in their continuous search to improve the welfare of their people, were attracted to the Ministry of MEIDECC/PCREEE display during the Royal Agricultural Show, Saturday 22nd June 2019. The theme of this year Agricultural Show is “To’u Kai mo hono Lohu”. A Tongan phrase which loosely means “with each new year's harvest, comes a matching innovation”. Hundreds of small businesses from the Agriculture, Fisheries, Tourism and Trades sectors, as well as nonprofits, public services departments, and community groups displayed their innovative products and services. This annual event is a great opportunity to let the community know what innovation the PCREEE is currently working on, engage with members of the public, and form open discourse with other organizations and businesses for future collaborations in Tonga and the Pacific.
At this year's show, the Department of Energy in partnership with the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE) showcased entrepreneurial support activities targeting the private sector and NGOs with the purpose of building the capacity of businesses and showcasing investment opportunities for the locals by utilizing renewable energy (RE) technologies and energy efficiency (EE) appliances and tools.
PCREEE Outcome 3: The awareness and knowledge base of local key institution and stakeholder group on RE and EE are strengthening and its output 3.2.3. Design and implement at least one regional RE and EE awareness campaign targeting the residential, commercial or industrial sectors, the PCREEE has developed an awareness model to showcase during the whole event.
The objectives of this showcase is to:
- Raise awareness on the PCREEE roles in the PICTs
- Promote the four (4) PCREEE support initiatives with emphasis on the strengthening of private sector investments on RE and EE.
- Raise awareness on business and employment opportunities in the PICTs energy sector.
- Demonstrate the productive uses of RE and EE in the productive sectors of the economy as well as their socio-economic implications.
The PCREEE team presented a model demonstrating RE from the sun using solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to provide electricity that can power a sewing machine for women who are earning from sewing, VHF radio for the fisheries sector, solar lights for growers in the agrculture sectore or a carving motor for the handicraft makers. These are just a few productive applications of renewable energy that can help the private sector and entrepren eurs to reduce their running costs, freeing up capital for reinvestment to scale their business and provide employment opportunities to the youths.
Part of the model was dedicated to EE, displaying the retrofitting fluorescent method, showcasing the differences in consumption of an EE bulb and a non-EE bulb using a watt meter. Which was also used as an analogous for other EE appliances and their associated benefits. Similarly, an actual procedure of retrofitting from the traditional fluorescent with an EE LED bulb. Furthermore, the team also showcased an EE cooking method and a sustainable energy web highlighting the importance of sustainable energy across a range of sectors and its enabling and facilitating role in a number of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The key message during the event was the focus on empowering the private sector through the PCREEE Sustainable Energy Entrepreneurship Facility (PSEEF) and the promotion of gender equality. Emphasis on the PSEEF was directly in-line with the event given the relevance of sustainable development through renewable energy and the productive sectors. The demonstration captured the entire productive sector and how sustainable energy can effectively contribute to private sector developments.
The Department of Energy and the PCREEE demonstration was visited by about 1000 people from the private sector, Ministers and government officials, Nobles, Diplomatic Corp, farmers, students and the general public.