The village of Falese’ela Lefaga has been removed from the Electric Power Corporation’s (E.P.C.) Renewable Energy Project list.
In an interview with the Samoa Observer last week, Tologata Galumalemana Lupematasila Tile said: “It is sad to see that Falese’ela has been removed from the Renewable Energy Project because it was approved by the Board, Committee and the Cabinet.
“You have to bear in mind a hydro-power plant project is the most stable and reliable project for renewable energy here in Samoa.
“The main aim is to lower the cost of electricity in Samoa,” he said.
Tologata added E.P.C. are also trying to develop solar energy but her said that we must also bear in mind that solar energy is more expensive compared with hydro energy.
“It is sad to see that the village of Falese’ela does not accept the project,” he said.
“Maybe in the near future the villagers will change their mind but what worries the E.P.C. is, that they may be too late because of the availability of the funds.”
Tologata said there was a survey carried out and there were several potential areas that were suggested. They included Faleseela, Fausaga and Tafitoala, Fulaasou and Vailoa Palauli at Savai’i.
These power plants which would be built are called Micro Hydro Power Plants.
“This is all part and parcel of Samoa’s main mission to achieve 100 per cent Renewable Energy by 2025 and to lower the cost of electricity in the country,” said Tologata.
What the village of Falese’ela had raised was the impact of establishing such a hydro power plant on the environment.
But Tologata said before any project was implemented, an Environmental Impact Assessment was usually carried out.
“It seems that the village is using a project of planting trees and conserving the environment by the Ministry of Agriculture to stop this renewable energy project.
“Overall, the study clearly identifies that there is no impact at all on the environment.
“The M.N.R.E. understands what the whole project is,” he said.
He referred to the hydro plant at Afulilo Dam where year’s back there was a problem and there was an unhealthy stench emanating from the dam and the E.P.C. was able to fix it.
Compared to these Micro Hydro Plants, he added, the water used for such projects had no effect because the whole purpose was to produce electricity.
“I do believe that there are a few people are against the E.P.C. project. Those who are against it are the ones who are doing eco-system projects such as allowing tourists to visit their recreational areas.
He said the eco-system project only benefited its operators compared with the renewable energy project that benefits everybody.
For the time being, works on the Fausaga and Tafitoala, VailoaPalauli and Fulasouare Micro Hydro Plants are in progress.
Tologata did not wish to say if the Faleseela project is a big loss to the E.PC, however he said the Faleseela Hydro Plant could only produce 100 to 150 kilowatts of electricity.
The Renewable Energy Project is co-funded by the Asian Development Bank, the New Zealand Government and the European Union at an estimated figure of between $5m and $10m.
“Looking from the Micro Economic prospective, Samoa does not just want to achieve 100 percent Renewable Energy, but to save money.
“If the Renewable Energy is successful, Samoa will rely on its resources available locally and there will be no more importation of fuels from overseas countries,” he said.