Govt. signs $14m project

Samoa and the United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P) yesterday signed an agreement on a new renewable energy project with the Global Environment Fund (G.E.F). The signing was held at the Central Bank Building.

Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa and the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti signed on behalf of Samoa while Resident Representative (a.i.) Notonegoro signed of behalf of U.N.D.P.

The signing will see US$6.07million (T$14m) allocated towards the Improving the Performance and Reliability of RE Power System in Samoa (I.M.P.R.E.S.S) project.

Fiame noted the importance of the project for the energy sector.

“We have an amount of $6million USD which 50 per cent will be utilised in the biomass project. The other 50per cent will be utilized in  the community project on the development of energy and  also to ensure the access of the community to their respective energy needs. 

“This project will be implemented through the M.N.R.E. but then of course government centered projects will be monitored by the Ministry of Finance. And these projects are greatly assisted by the U.N. colleagues and also our regional offices.”  

According to a statement, the project forms part of the government’s plan to move away from fossil fuels and reach a target of 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025.  

“This new project will improve the sustainable and cost-effective use of indigenous renewable energy resources – such as biomass– for energy production,” said Fiame.

“On the international stage, it will assist us in realizing our commitment to be 100% renewable by 2025, as under the Paris Agreement, as well as achieving the indicators under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7, ‘Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.”

According to Fiame, Samoa has demonstrated a significant commitment to addressing climate change, both in adapting to its impacts and mitigating – or reducing – greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. 

“From a global perspective, our emissions are very small. However, we aim to demonstrate our concern and commitment as a small island developing state whose people are at the frontline of climate change.

“This means for communities in terms of energy security, there are other sources to look at and it will help the country as a whole in its efforts to be more resilient to climate change.”

The project funded with US$6,075,828 from the G.E.F Trust Fund and co-financing from the government of Samoa and partners of over US$46 million, will be implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E) through the Renewable Energy Division as the main partner. 

Other partners, including the Samoa Trust Estate Corporation and Electric Power Corporation, will also help deliver specific components.

Fiame emphasised the importance of partnerships. 

“Samoa is truly grateful to U.N.D.P and the Global Environment Facility for the support.”

Over the coming five years, the project will address a range of key areas, including improved policy formulation and implementation at a national level; access to new renewable energy technologies; support for community initiatives for in saving electricity; productive and social uses of renewable energy and raising local communities awareness on the applications and benefits of renewable technologies.

The project is in line with national policies and measures to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions such as the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Strategy 2008-2018, National Infrastructure Strategic Plan (NISP) 2011-2021 and the STEC Corporate Plan 2015-2017. 

 “For this project’s objective to be achieved we need contribution and participation from other stakeholders, private sector, civil society and Government.

The 5-year project time frame should give us enough time to see the results of our commitment to the Paris Agreement goal – having 100% renewable energy sources by 2025”, U.N.D.P. Resident Representative (a.i.) Notonegoro added. The project is now ready to be implemented. 

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