Samoa has taken one more step towards the realisation of its 100 per cent renewable energy goal.
It happened on Wednesday night with the launch of a renewable energy project at Hotel Tanoa Tusitala.
The project proposes to invest $250million to set up a “stable and renewable energy supply” through the use of wind turbines, solar panels and hydro-power.
This part of an effort to reduce Samoa’s reliance on fossil fuel, which will eventually lead to the introduction of electrical cars and electrical charging equipment.
The key players in the project are I.E.S Lab, Z.T.P.C Shanghai Energy Group and their local counterparts.
It has taken four years to get the project off the ground but with the launch out of the day, the first wind turbines are scheduled to be up by the end of June. If all goes well, the project should be completed by the end of 2017.
Nu’u Tapasu Leung Wai, one of the local contacts for the project, acknowledged the vision by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi for Samoa to become a leading example in the use of renewable energy.
“There are two major power companies in China and one of them (Z.T.P.C) is here with us taking part in this project for Samoa,” Nu’u said.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa is excited.
“It is very exciting that we finally see the launch of this project,” he said. “The government has set up its goals to make sure that hopefully by next year the whole country will be using renewable clean energy.”
Referring to the COP21 in Paris, Tuilaepa said renewable energy was one of the biggest issues on the agenda.
“If the world proceeds to progress with their commitments, then we can do something about the temperature increase and save the world,” Tuilaepa said, adding that the deadline for Samoa’s commitment to 100 per cent renewable energy is not far off.
“Actions speak louder than words at this point,” he said.
Feng Dong, the Managing Director of I.E.S Labs, said the project is an investment by his firm in Samoa.
“Both countries have a profound relationship and friendship which has led to us achieving remarkable achievements,” he said. “Through further understanding of each other, I believe more and more Chinese companies will come and invest in Samoa.
“I believe that the balance in development of the economy and environment is very important for the development of Samoa yet the development of the economy has been overpowering the environment.”
Mr. Dong said I.E.S Labs and Z.T.P.C would use state-of-the-art technology and expertise in grid power to make the project run smoothly.
“We also seek to improve the grid power capacity and reliability to reduce the power failure time until we guarantee the grid’s stable operations,” Mr. Dong said.
The project should “lay a firm foundation for a richer and more beautiful Samoa,” he added.
For consumers though, there is another benefit.
“Right now the cost of electricity is at 55 sene per unit,” Nu’u said. “But two years after the completion in 2017, we might see the price drop to 40 sene per unit. Our motto is the more people use it, the lower the cost of power will be.”
Nu’u said the project would work hand in hand with the Electric Power Corporation to improve energy supply in Samoa.
This project will be based in Le Puē and will firstly cover all of Upolu before moving to Savai’i.