What a great achievement to see the 2.1MW solar facility opened this week, taking Upolu’s renewable capability closer to the 100% goal by 2017.
However, what’s going on in Savaii? It seems doubtful that the proposed hydro facility in Sili will go ahead because the village council has rightly blocked it on the grounds it will have a seriously negative impact on their local environment, through downstream contamination.
No matter how much solar you put in, there has to be an alternative to generate power when the sun isn’t shining, otherwise we are back to the 100% reliance on the diesel generators at Salelologa.
Samoa’s fickle winds at certain times of the year do not bode well for wind generation, nor do the environmental and possible community health impacts experienced in places like Australia with wind farms being deployed around the country over the past 20 years.
I wrote a recent article published in the Observer which touted power generation from the waves that crash onto our shores as a viable alternative. This is a well proven technology and by all accounts is a very cost effective generation method, both in terms of up front infrastructure and ongoing costs, so why don’t the authorities pursue these alternatives?
Our favourite infrastructure partners, China have been active in developing this technology over the past few years, so maybe the Samoan authorities and the Chinese can build something together that is cutting edge, totally appropriate and helps meet the goal of 100% renewable.
Either way, we need to generate electricity to power all of the air-conditioned buildings built on Chinese money these past few years.