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Tonga's first wind turbine to start in June

May 10, 2013

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

From left, Carl Sanft, Lord Tu'ivakano and John van Brink. Nakolo, 9 May 2013.

Update Juky 2013

First “Made In UK” Turbine Switched On by Tonga Prime Minister

Gaia-Wind, the UK’s world class farm scale turbine manufacturers have notched up another success as the Prime Minister of Tonga, Lord Tu’ivakano, commissioned the kingdom’s first wind turbine at Nakolo Village. Following the success of this pilot project, Tonga Power and Gaia-Wind are now in discussion about a swift and substantial enlargement of small wind turbine capacity for the island.

Avital contribution
The Gaia-Wind 133 turbine was dispatched to the South Pacific island kingdom earlier this year, by Scottish Secretary Michael Moore who said: “As I witnessed firsthand Gaia Wind is an innovative, pioneering company and I’m delighted to hear that the turbine that I helped send from Glasgow is already making a vital contribution towards carbon-free energy in Tonga.
“Scotland’s world class renewable companies like Gaia Wind are leading the way and staff throughout the UK Government’s extensive global network of diplomatic, consular and trade embassies are working hard to provide Scottish businesses with the
support they need to exploit these exciting new opportunities.” 
"withstand the occasional hurricane"
At a distance of 16,109 kilometres, Tonga Power Limited's purchase of the Gaia-Wind turbine sets the furthest ever distance for an export order for the company. Gaia-Wind beat off competition from small wind turbine manufacturers in the US and Europe to win the groundbreaking order.  The turbine, which is designed to deliver high performance in moderate winds, will also have to withstand the occasional hurricane and other extremes of weather.
Tonga Power report that the construction on the project finished on-time and under-budget. “The Nakolo Wind Turbine began harnessing  the energy from wind and has produced electricity since its completed installation. The wind turbine will generate approximately 27,000 kW hours of electricity, enough to generate power to 23 homes. 
"A  milestone for Tonga Power"
Project Manager Setitaia Chen said: “Today marks a milestone for Tonga Power in the development of wind generation in the Kingdom. The only way to go now is forward with the wind. This project achieved one of our goals, to build capacity to learn, be
exposed to a new experience and maintain a new technology.”
Gaia-Wind CEO Johnnie Andringa said: "Following on our success in breaking into the European and US markets, we are thrilled that our UK manufactured turbines have now reached out halfway across the globe. Gaia-Wind turbines are designed to serve
members of the community directly and to be in scale with their environment.  Tonga is a prime example of the kind of market for "distributed energy" for which the Gaia-Wind turbine is eminently suited.


 Dateline May 2013

Tonga's first small wind turbine project on Tongatapu began with a dedication ceremony at Nakolo village on Thursday, May 9, ast the start of the work to erect  the wind tower.

The Tonga Power Ltd. project is expected to start operation in June.

The new technology which harnesses the energy of the wind by converting it into useable electricity could provide another source of clean and renewable energy for Tonga. This project is aimed to provide Tonga Power staff with experience in wind generation in Tonga, to ensure power can be generated constantly and there is enough wind resource to make a larger wind farm in the future.

Michael Lani 'Ahokava, Generation Manager Tonga Power said the 11kW Gaia-wind turbine will generate about 27,000 units or supplies power to 23 houses for one year.

He said  it is equivalent to the power  generated by 44 drums of diesel fuel. Tonga Power now burns about 65,000 drums of diesel fuel in one year. This project is a prelude to a much larger wind turbine project in which the Tonga Energy Roadmap Committee is considering to reduce fuel consumption.

The goal of this project has always been about capacity development and understanding the changing environment and Tonga Power will understand the new technology a lot better, he said.

Wind Turbine Project Manager Setitaia Chen expressed his excitement with the development of the new wind generation in Tonga.

He said although this wind turbine project is considered small scale, the experience and exposure that will be gained by Tonga power staff will be invaluable.

"I am confident to say if when we start building a wind farm on a larger scale we would all be ready like kites soaring high."


The Minister for Public Enterprises Hon. Fe'aomoeata Vakata said government's objective is to reduce the price of electricity and in order to achieve this we must reduce our reliance on diesel fuel for electricity generation, a target set by the Prime Minister, government and captured through the Tonga Energy Roadmap (TERM).

He said this project will help to confirm how much Tonga can rely on wind power because it is important to ensure that we take as many steps as possible to validate that wind generation is viable because there are examples in the Pacific where wind generation has proven not to be commercially viable.

If all goes well its very likely that we could see a wind farm that would reduce electricity price by some four seniti per kilowatt hour compared to diesel generation, then Tonga well and truly be running with wind, said the Minister.


Funded by Tonga Power Ltd. with over $270,000 pa'anga, the work will include erecting the tower with the wind turbine bought from Glasgow's Gaia-Wind company and hook it into the network. 

The wind turbine has a 15-year plant life and will be approximately 18.4m high.

Attending the event was Prime Minister Lord Tu'ivakano, Carl Sanft chairman of the Tonga Power Board of Directors, Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Samiu Vaipulu, Tonga Power Ltd CEO John van Brink, chairman of the Electricity Commission Lord Dalgety, estate holder Lord Luani and residents of Nakolo village.

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