16 Jan 2015

Uni student builds model power system for Tonga's Ha'apai

4:30 pm on 16 January 2015

A model renewable power system for Ha'apai in Tonga is being developed by a post-graduate student at a New Zealand university.

Islands in the Ha’apai group have been badly damaged.

Cyclone Ian wiped out Ha'apai's two power generators. Photo: RNZAF

Ha'apai's two diesel generators were destroyed when Cyclone Ian hit the island group last year.

Tonga's government says it is committed to converting a portion of the kingdom's electricity generation to renewable energy sources.

A lecturer at Canterbury University, Dr Andrew Lapthorn, says Hantt Cao is developing a model to determine what a renewable system would look like.

"He's looking at what would a renewable energy system look like for the Ha'apai group so he's doing a bunch of economic modelling and power system modelling to figure out what the best mix of generation sources would be, where you would put them and how much it would cost to implement it."

Dr Lapthorn says the research will be used by Tonga Power Limited to determine whether they will proceed with a renewable energy option for Ha'apai and possibly be used in funding applications to aid donors.