“Developing renewable energy a challenge”

The Electric Power Corporation (EPC) is in a race against time to meet Samoa’s 2025 deadline for 100 per cent renewable energy.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, EPC Chief Executive Officer, Tologata Tile Tuimaleali'ifano said developing the country’s renewable energy is a big challenge for his organisation.

“For 2019, the big challenge is developing renewable energies. At the moment we are currently looking at how we can achieve the 100 per cent renewable by 2025, so far it’s about 50 per cent renewable right now, and the other 50 per cent is from diesel-generated power,” he said. With six more years to go before the deadline, Tologata said other renewable power sources currently under the scrutiny of the EPC is a wind farm. 

“We only have a couple years left and so we are looking at how we can achieve the next 50 per cent, at the moment we are currently in the process of discussing the wind farm at Mount Le Pu’e.”

The EPC signed a power purchasing agreement with Chinese company E-Power to commission a wind farm, but Tologata indicated that the project didn’t progress to completion after two years. “We signed a power purchasing agreement with a Chinese company which is E-Power. In the past two years, unfortunately they could not deliver the PPA, we are now renegotiating or looking at how we can implement the wind farm.”

But the EPC Chief Executive Officer hasn’t thrown in the towel on the project, saying he still hopes it can be implemented despite the challenges. 

“We have great hopes that if we can implement the wind farm, it can contribute immensely to achieving our target by 2025.”

A biomass plant – which will use an invasive plant species that needs to be eradicated – is also under construction at Afolau. But Tologata said it is only a small scale.

While the focus for the organisation is to put Samoa in a position to be 100 per cent renewable by 2025, EPC Chief Executive Officer said they will still need the Fiaga diesel power generators as a backup, in the event a renewable energy plant experiences an interruption in generating electricity. 

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