E.P.C. lifts clean energy production 12 per cent

The Electric Power Corporation (E.P.C.) has recorded a 12 per cent increase in its production of renewable energy production, the state-owned utility has revealed. 

The corporation's clean energy output equalled a record-breaking output of 64 million kilowatt hours in the Financial Year ending in 2018, according to an annual report found this week. 

“The major benefit of the significant increase in renewable generation [...represents] an annual reduction in fuel costs of $4.2 million tala, reduction of 4.5 million litres of fuel and the important reduction of 12,000 tonnes of CO2 gas emissions,” says Pepe Christian Fruean, the Corporation's Chairman, in the annual report. 

“A record 17.8 million kWh solar [photovoltaic energy] was generated by independent power producers representing a 13 per cent increase in production year on year, this however meant independent power production costs increased by 11 per cent or $1.1 million.” 

The new reports come as the organisation revealed on Friday that it had now exceeded 50 per cent of its total output. Samoa has a national target of transitioning to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025. 

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“One of the important misconceptions that need to be rectified is the common perception that renewable energy should always be cheaper than diesel, which is incorrect," the Chairman said. 

“The main drivers based upon E.P.C. recent experience is that the power purchase agreements that it entered into had factored in significant market risk into its feed in tariff and as such has had the effect of increasing [independent power production] costs by 11 percent in 2018.” 

According to the utility's Chairman, the E.P.C. remain committed to achieving Government's renewable energy target through new renewable energy projects. But he said the inherent challenge of such a transition is ensuring the additional renewable electricity is cheaper and more reliable than the diesel which it is replacing will become more acute. 

“Therefore, it must be said that in order to move forward the economics and [power purchase agreements] for all future [renewable] projects must significantly improve, meaning the parties must both share in the risks and rewards whilst ensuring that the cost of generation remains reasonable and thus sustainable," the Chairman said. 

“[The] E.P.C. is also progressing technical solutions to which will help accommodate higher levels of renewables. 

“The implementation of the battery storage at Fiaga and Faleolo has improved grid stability and the efficiency of which electricity is stored and released to customers, and has also meant that the Corporation now has the option of running its Fiaga diesel generators at a lower capacity and standby mode.” 

The Corporation said it is aiming to ensure that the move toward clean energy will not increase electricity costs to the people of Samoa and impact profitability for the corporation whilst adversely affect the reliability of our electricity system.

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