Two Samoas one power grid

A power grid joining Samoa and American Samoa via submarine cable is expected to stabilise electricity and maximize use of renewable energy in both nations, says Samoa's National Energy Coordinating Committee.

The project is part of the committee’s plan to maintain 100 per cent renewable energy, a goal the N.E.C.C. says the Electric Power Corporation (E.P.C.) will achieve by 2025.

The Two Samoa's grid was revealed during the Sustainable Energy 2021 meeting that opened on Thursday morning at the Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi (T.A.T.T.E.) Building in Sogi. 

The plans for the future of energy in Samoa are contained in the Overview of Renewable Energy Development in Samoa that was distributed at the meeting. 

The overview was provided by Fonoti Perelini Perelini, Chief Technical Advisor for the Improving the Performance and Reliability of Renewable Energy Power System in Samoa (I.M.P.R.E.S.S.) project.

The new grid will be connected by a submarine cable measuring 60 miles in length. 

It will stretch from Aleipata in Samoa to Poloa in American Samoa, according to the 2021-2034 “future” plans for energy contained in the overview. 

The grid will “export power back and forth, stabilize grids, maximize use of renewable energy developments and reserve capacity in both countries,” the overview states.

It is also meant to ensure sustainable development and “a public-private partnership development and financing and funded from sale of power and telecom flow through the cable.”

The 60-mile cable will include telecommunications fiber. 

The Two Samoa's grid is listed as a continued effort in renewable energy or R.E. development from 2025 onward. 

“The Electric Power Corporation will achieve 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025,” the overview states. 

Additional R.E. plans that will follow the 2025 target include geothermal power development in Savai’i, Sili hydro in Savai’i, a submarine power cable to join Savai’i and Upolu, a Le Pue wind farm.

Additional focus is placed on “non-power applications of energy,” particularly in transportation. 

Ideas include electric vehicles and hybrid cars that will require battery charging stations. As incentives, consumers will be offered free charging of electric vehicles for five years. 

Energy officials also would like to convert interisland ships to electric motor propelling with battery superchargers installed at the Mulifanua and Salelologa wharves. 

There are also plans to develop a transit transport system comprised of electric trains that will travel from Mulifanua to Apia township.

Samoa’s renewable energy plans will continue to add and maintain diesel plants for reserve capacity to guarantee security of power supply when the R.E. systems are down.

In the overview, it says they seek to displace diesel generation at least to tariff costs and carbon neutral projects.

The E.P.C. is finalising a power purchase agreement with an independent power producer (I.P.P.) to build a 70 Megawatt solar-powered 196 Mwh battery storage to bring total R.E. generation to 100 per cent by 2025.

The Secretary for the N.E.C.C. is Leasiosiofa’asisina Oscar Malielegaoi, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) of the Ministry of Finance.

The meeting closes on Friday 25 June with energy demonstrations and an awards ceremony. 

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