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Reducing emissions from ground transportation: Assessing the transformational change potential of Tonga’s Energy Efficiency Master Plan

15 June 2021


  • Government of Tonga
  • Climate Technology Centre and Network
  • UNEP DTU Partnership


The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) worked closely with the Tongan Energy Department to develop the Tonga Energy Efficiency Master Plan (TEEMP) to help reduce electricity use and emissions from ground transportation – which together make up 55 percent of national emissions. The plan further complements the Tonga Energy Road Map which aims to reduce fossil fuel dependence through increased energy efficiency and improved supply chains, as well as reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve national energy security.

In order to assess the transformational impact of the TEEMP and the technical assistance provided, the CTNC applied ICAT’s Transformational Change Assessment Guide – a methodology to help policymakers and other users understand the relationship between policies and actions, and the expected or achieved transformational impact.


  • Evaluate the potential transformational change of the TEEMP, demonstrating the benefits and co-benefits of implementing the policy recommendations for the electricity and transport sector.
  • Understand how the technical assistance supports Tonga’s Nationally Determined Contribution in relation to climate change mitigation, while simultaneously complementing other national goals.
  • Support monitoring and evaluation and impact reporting processes by building the CTCN’s internal capacity and understanding of transformational change and impact.
  • Contribute to the development of checklists and tools for a) assessing potential for transformational change of new and completed technical assistance requests, and b) reporting to donors, host organizations, the Conference of the Parties and the public.


The ex-ante assessment, which took place from January to April 2019, sought to unveil the potential impact of the TEEMP up to the year 2030 and focused on three categories: GHG emission reduction, energy intensity and energy security.

With the use of a step-wise approach, a set of 20 proposed policies and actions were assessed within the electricity and transport sectors, including possible taxes and charges, subsidies and incentives, information instruments, infrastructure programmes, regulations and standards, and implementation of new technologies, processes, or practices.


  • The extent of transformation expected to be achieved by the TEEMP is moderate and the outcome is possibly sustained over time.
  • If implemented, the TEEMP is expected to result in GHG emissions reduction and moderate sustainable development impacts such as job creation, energy security and reduced energy intensity on a multi-scale level.
  • Overall, the results suggest that the TEEMP is potentially transformational if adopted, adjusted and implemented by the relevant Tongan entities. This is provided that further attention is given to some of the process and outcome characteristics related to ensuring sustained technical capacity-building and a more comprehensive focus on adoption and scale-up of proposed energy efficiency technologies and conservation measures to avoid a relapse to a high-carbon pathway.

Figure 1: Assessment results for transformational change potential

Lessons learned

While the ICAT Transformational Change Assessment Guide allows for analysis of more than one policy or action per assessment, the assessment of 20 policies and actions within two different sectors on a national level proved challenging in terms of aggregation of scores and weighting. For future assessments involving multiple policies and actions, it is recommended to apply it sector-wise.

More information

For more information about the Transformational Change Assessment Guide or any of the ICAT series of Policy Assessment Guides, please contact the ICAT Secretariat.

View the complete case study here

Reducing emissions from ground transportation: Assessing the transformational change potential of Tonga’s Energy Efficiency Master Plan