RE-SAT launches in Tonga

Posted September 22nd, 2019

The Institute for Environmental Analytics is to partner with the Government of Tonga to implement an innovative renewable energy analytics platform – RE-SAT – to support the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The partnership is being formally launched in Tonga next month (October).

It has been made possible by investment from the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP) and reflects Tonga’s position at the forefront of promoting clean growth.

RE-SAT fuses satellite and in-situ weather data with advanced analytics to provide highly detailed renewable energy information to help users:

• Explore and define the best renewable energy mix.

• Plan where to locate different renewable energy infrastructure.

• Assess the potential financial viability of renewable energy investments.

• Estimate power production and variability, taking into account seasonal weather patterns.

The IEA is visiting Tonga from October 8th-11th to meet with the Government of Tonga and key national stakeholders with an interest in the energy sector to tailor RE-SAT to their needs and build the capacity of stakeholders to support its implementation, combining the IEA’s expertise with in-country knowledge and skills.

Meetings will be held with: the Government of Tonga; Department of Energy of the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Climate Change and Communications; the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE) which is co-hosted by the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Tongan Meteorological Service; the Ministry of Trade and Economic Development; the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Natural Resources; the Planning and Urban Management Agency; Tonga Statistics Department; Tonga Power Ltd and Tonga Electricity Commission. These meetings will be followed by the first RE-SAT workshop to introduce RE-SAT to the Tonga partners and to begin preparations to deploy the software within Tonga.

Colin McKinnon, CEO of the IEA, said: “By working closely with Tonga we will provide the quality of data needed to develop a sound business case to switch to renewable sources to a far greater extent. Understanding minute-by-minute variability is a key question as it affects the requirement for reserve energy generation. However, long periods of historic observations are often not available from existing data sources. With our world-leading skills in data analytics we will use Earth observation data to construct a synthetic weather model for Tonga to improve both the planning of renewable investment and also the management of reserve capacity.

“As RE-SAT is funded by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme, the project runs as a true partnership, using the knowledge and expertise of our Tongan partners. It is not a one-off consultancy exercise by a third party.

“SPC and PCREEE have been very supportive of RE-SAT and we are grateful for their help in connecting with our Pacific partner nations.”

Tonga has committed to reach 50% renewable electricity production by 2020, transitioning from imported diesel fuel to renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources under the Tonga Energy Road Map.

Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “We’re proud to support Tonga in their transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, which will deliver greater self-sufficiency while reducing global carbon emissions to combat climate change.”

Tonga is one of six small island developing states (SIDS) to benefit from £3.8m investment from the UK Space Agency IPP in RE-SAT. The others are: Mauritius, Montserrat, Palau, Vanuatu and St Lucia.

Watch the RE-SAT information video.

The opening image of the 'Introduction to RE-SAT' video