21 May 2013

Tonga constructs its first wind turbine

3:22 pm on 21 May 2013

Tonga is building its first wind turbine, and the country's sole power company hopes to turn wind energy into one of Tonga's major electricity sources.

The project began in the village of Nakolo two weeks ago with a ceremony to mark the construction of the 11 kilowatt turbine.

The project manager for Tonga Power Limited, Seti Chen, says the turbine is a very small start and only has the capacity to power 23 homes.

But he says he hopes to find international funding to create Tonga's first wind farm which would create a lot of power for the country.

"Some of the reports that have come through give an approximate figure of probably about, at most, 2.3 megawatts. So that certainly is a big potential because the current Ma'ama Mai solar farm that's currently operating here on Tongatapu is about a 1.3 megawatt capacity. So if we're looking at at least 2.3 capacity then that certainly makes a large cut in terms of the diesel consumption."

Seti Chen says that with an average wind speed of between 6 and 9 metres per second, wind energy has great potential in the country.