Power plants vulnerable to climate change

Renewable energy sources such as the 600 kilowatt Tafitoala-Fausaga hydro power plant at Safata District are vulnerable to the impact of climate change. 

This is according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Electric Power Corporation (EPC), Tologata Tile Tuimaleali'ifano.

Speaking in an interview with the Samoa Observer, he said the Tafitoala-Fausaga hydro power plant and other hydro power facilities are vulnerable to extreme weather conditions triggered by climate change.  

“In the case of any natural disasters, like the flash flood we had here at the Apia area in 2012 – which destroyed all the hydro plants at Vaisigano River – which has been completely refurbished. The same thing can also happen to any hydro power plant. 

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“With the changes in climate, another limitation for hydro sources of energy is the dry season. But for Samoa alone, hydro is the proven renewable energy for us. The first priority is hydro, second priority is solar and wind,” he said.

Talking about the commissioning of the Tafitoala-Fausaga hydro power plant, he said there is always the threat of dry season, consequently the appeal from the Prime Minister for more trees to be grown. 

“During the commissioning of the 600 Kilowatt Tafitoala – Fausaga Hydro Power Plant, the Prime Minister has urged villagers to work together with EPC to plant more trees, in order to have enough water to operate the power station.”

Tologata also said even if Samoa is able to reach hundred per cent renewable, the EPC will still need Fiaga as a backup.

“It is because if the renewable energy sources get affected through climate change or natural disasters – we need Fiaga as a backup for electricity – if Fiaga had never been built then EPC would have never met the demand of electricity.

“Samoa Observer is one of the newspapers that published articles on the government wasting millions on building Fiaga but without Fiaga, by now the demand of electricity would have never been met.

“The worst case scenario is to have a blackout on one side of the island and it would take such a long period of time to get back the power if there was no Fiaga,” he added.

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