Govt. commissions new 600 kilowatt hydro power plant

The Government has commissioned the 600 kilowatt Tafitoala- Fausaga new hydro power plant in Safata District.

Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, Cabinet Ministers, the diplomatic corps, and the village councils of Tafitoala and Fausaga witnessed the commissioning yesterday.

The Prime Minister said the plant is part of his Government’s plan to rely on renewable energy by 2025, and cut Samoa’s dependency on diesel fuel while reducing the country’s emission levels. 

“The hydro power plant is one of the three new hydro power plants that have been constructed as part of Renewable Energy Development and Power Sector Rehabilitation Project. 

“The other two are Vailoa in Palauli in Savaii and Fuluasou in Upolu – the Vailoa Power Plant is complete and will be dedicated later this month,” he said. 

Last year 48 per cent of the total electricity demand for Samoa was generated by renewable energy sources, according to the P.M.

“The Fuluasou new hydro plant is under construction with completion scheduled within the next three months. Also included in the Renewable Energy Development and Power Sector Rehabilitation Project was the rehabilitation of Samasoni, Fale o le Fee and Alaoa Hydro Power Plants that were damaged by the major flood of the Vaisigano River during Cyclone Evan in 2012,” he added. 

The reconstruction of all three damaged hydro plants were completed and commissioned in December 2017, according to Tuilaepa, and are now generating and supplying 4.7 megawatts of capacity and 14 million kilowatt hour units of electricity per year to the grid.

“All these projects under the Energy Renewable Energy Development and Power Sector Rehabilitation Project are funded from grants from Asian Development Bank, European Union, Government of New Zealand, Government of Samoa, and Electric Power Corporation, and we acknowledge their support. 

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“The main contractor that performed design and construction is Pernix Group and MAP Projects Joint Venture from New Zealand, United States of America, and Fiji with local and off island subcontractors: Bluebird Construction Ltd, Vortex Group Ltd, MTL Design Ltd, Maskell Production Ltd, and Gabot Holding Communications.

“Total cost of the Tafitoala - Fausaga new hydro plant is US$3,184,775.57 plus $1,869,650.25 Samoan Tala. This hydro plant and one in Vailoa, Palauli took two years to build. Installed capacity of this new plant in Tafitoala-Fausaga is 600 kilowatts and is expected to produce about 2 million units of electricity per year or 1.36 per cent of the total annual electricity demand in Upolu,” added Tuilaepa. 

According to the P.M., the plant will save about 500,000 litres of diesel fuel per year — which would normally be used to generate electricity from diesel generators — or a saving of $1.6 million Samoan Tala per year. The plant will also reduce 1.25 metric tons per year of carbon dioxide gas emission to the atmosphere. 

“Plant takes water from two branches of the Tafitoala-Fausaga River with two river intakes at 122-meter elevation at each branch to maximize output power at the power plant.  

“The plant includes a 3.6-kilometer-long buried fiber glass penstock pipe, a surge chamber instead of a head-pond, and power station installed with a single vertical 600 kilowatt Pelton turbine with five jets and generator and electrical equipment. 

“The plant is connected direct to the distribution feeder that supplies power to Siumu to Safata area, the plant is remotely controlled from EPC’s national control center in the Fuluasou substation, next to the Faleata golf course through telecommunication links using microwaves, radio signals and fiber optic cable link — this enables the new plant to be integrated with rest of EPC’s entire network for improve efficiency and reliability of operation with maximum output power dependent on river flow,” Tuilaepa added. 

The Prime Minister thanked everyone that took part in making the project possible including the A.D.B and the governments of Australia, New Zealand and Japan for assistance with funding — not only this new plant — but other new hydro and renewable energy projects. 

Mr. Nakao said Samoa is fighting climate change by supplying power through renewable energy options.   

“Samoa has adaptations of climate change because this country is susceptible to the impacts of climate change which comes with frequent cyclones and flooding. 

“But at the same time we are supporting your adaptation elements by strengthening your infrastructure for disaster resilient.

“It is very encouraging that Samoa targets going renewable energy by 2025 for electricity power supply,” he said.

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