16 Jan 2015

NZ student helps Tonga develop renewable energy system

7:09 pm on 16 January 2015

A model renewable power system for the Tongan islands of Ha'apai is being developed by a post-graduate student at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

During last year's Cyclone Ian, Ha'apai's two diesel generators were destroyed.

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

Supervising lecturer Dr Andrew Lapthorn says Hantt Cao is assisting by developing a model of a hybrid energy system made up of renewable energy sources.

"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."

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

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

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