Renewable energy an option in time of adversity
The Government, through the Afolau Biomass Gasification Plant project, is increasingly looking to reduce Samoa’s dependence on imported diesel for electricity generation.
Rather they are looking at renewable energy sources as a way for Samoa to lower her dependency on outside forces for electricity.
The five-year Afolau project is among projects the Government is dabbling in.
The Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Vanda Faasoa-Chan Ting, talked about the background of the project.
"The government through our leader, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, pledged in 2014 at the beginning of the S.I.D.S. conference that Samoa will be generating 100% of electricity from locally available renewable energy sources,” she said.
“The government through the Energy Sector is striving to achieve this by 2025.
“So Samoa currently, through the Electric Power Corporation, is generating electricity from three renewable energy sources namely water (hydropower), sunlight (solar energy) and wind.”
The Afolau Biomass Gasification Plant is an addition to the renewable electricity mix.
"Collectively, these projects which utilize renewable energy can reduce Samoa’s dependence on imported diesel for electricity generation, especially at times of global crisis such as the current COVID-19 which is affecting global trade amongst other impacts,” she said.
“More importantly, the usage of renewable energy can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions which cause climate change and its adverse impacts on our small island states.”
With Samoa facing the closing of borders, which makes it harder for fuel and other products to be imported, Mrs. Chan Ting assured the Government is working hard to ensure supply is sufficient.
There are four agencies working with M.N.R.E. the I.M.P.R.E.S.S. ( Improving the Performance and Reliability of Renewable Energy Power System in Samoa) project.
"The main implementing agencies for the Afolau Biomass Gasification project component assisting M.N.R.E. include MoF (Ministry of Finance), STEC (Samoa Trust Estate Corporation), EPC (Electric Power Corporation) and SROS (Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa)," she added.
The project is funded by Global Environment Facility (G.E.F.), with assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P.).
"This is the third year going up to the fourth year of this project.
“So far we are doing so well despite the COVID19 and the state of emergency. Samoa can now produce its own electricity so we are still safe in terms of electricity.”