The Honourable Dr. Saia Ma'u Piukala, the newly appointed Minister of Public Enterprises and Minister of Health, concluded a trip to Tokyo and Okinawa, Japan where he expanded on the significance of the Japan-Tonga relationship.
The focus of the visit was to attend the bid opening ceremony and follow on negotiations for the JICA wind project which was held in a snowing Tokyo, Japan from the 22nd to 29th of January, 2018.
The objective of the project is to introduce renewable energy and diversify power supply sources through the installation of a 1.3 megawatt wind power generation system in Niutoua, Tongatapu.
The Minister, along with Directors from the Combined Utility Board, Fuiva Kavaliku and Sione Taione, TPL CEO Robert Matthews, TPL Generation Manager Murray Sheerin, TPL General Manager of Operations Seti Chen and TPL scholar, Nikkolasi Fonua also attended the bid opening and ensuing meetings. The delegation was honoured to be led by the Minister with the presence of the Tongan Ambassador to Japan, HE Lady Fusitu'a.
The meetings in Tokyo centred on the scope of works for the project which involved Lot 1 for the wind power generator system and Lot 2 for the grid stabilization system as well as implementation of the project in Tonga amongst other significant matters which were covered in the agenda of this one week trip.
After much deliberations and discussions during the bid evaluation, two companies successfully met the required process from JICA and provided bid prices within the allowable budget approved. Nishizawa Corporation and NBK Corporation were awarded the respective contracts for the procurement and installation of wind power generation (LOT 1) and grid stabilization system (LOT 2) in Tonga.
Several highlights of the trip to Tokyo included the courtesy visit to JICA Headquarters, giving the opportunity to extend Tonga's utmost gratitude for the Wind Farm Project but also promote other significant sector wide projects that JICA are well attained with. Another was the signing of the contracts with the successful bidders. Following the negotiations and clarification sessions, ceremonies were held on the 26th and 27th of January to sign the contracts for Lot 1 and 2 which was led by the Honourable Minister.
The trip concluded with the Minister visiting the Okinawa Electric Power Company (OEPC) accompanied by TPL CEO Robert Matthews. The Minister was welcomed by the Chairman and senior staff of OEPC which proved to be a very informative trip fo the Minister in understanding firsthand wind power technology and its importance in allowing Tonga to reach the 50% renewable energy target by 2020.
"Given the significance of this wind farm project towards Tonga's renewable energy target, I now understand the importance of wind generation and the need for a battery storage system for grid stability in order for us to achieve 50% renewable energy by 2020." - The Honourable Dr. Saia Ma'u Piukala, Minister of Health and Public Enterprises.
"Wind Power is an essential requirement and complements our existing solar plants. Wind can produce energy during the day and importantly during the night when the sun goes down and there is no solar generation; so that makes this wind project an essential part of our renewable energy mix." - Mr. Robert Matthews, CEO, Tonga Power Limited.