Energy: 100% sustainable options for Manu’a
Smaller island populations like Ofu, Olosega, and Ta’u in the Manu'a Islands and Aunu’u usually have a higher generation and distribution cost of kilowatt hour (kwh) due to the simple economics of smaller diesel engine efficiencies, and this according to the American Samoa Strategic Energy Plan (ASSEP), in the section referring to small island energy strategies, the American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) runs at a loss in these areas and Tutuila subsidizes the Manu’a rate to the tune of $400,000 per year.
For example, the report noted that in August 2013, the cost of power in the main island of Tutuila delivered to the consumer is approximately $0.32/kWh and billed to the consumer at $0.42/kWh. Whereas in Manu’a (Ta’u, Ofu and Olosega) the true cost of power delivered to the consumer is $0.48/kWh but is sold to the consumer in Manu’a at the same price as Tutuila consumers ($0.42kWh).
"Therefore, based on this data, deploying sustainable and renewable power options to the small island populations is not only a strong step towards economically viable solutions that benefit both the small islands and the main island of Tutuila that subsidizes them, but also increases the stability of their energy supply by mitigating fuel delivery problems, and potential transfer and storage issues that can devastate the pristine waters surrounding the islands," the ASSEP notes.
The report states that solar and wind, with proper storage solutions, can allow 100% renewable energy penetration, and would have far reaching benefits for the small islands of American Samoa.
The report also addresses Swains Island, which is 200 miles north of Tutuila and has a very small fluctuating population that ranges from 0-20 people throughout the year.
"There are complicated issues addressing Swains Island in this strategic Plan, as Swains Island is a privately owned Island with a population that would not normally warrant government investment in the infrastructure," the report says.
Swains Island energy, however, has a costly price tag for the government as fuel and other supply deliveries to the island are made by the ASG Vessel MV Sili on a regular basis.
For the purpose of the ASSEP, the Swains strategy will be to focus on attractive private sector investment options such as a low to no-cost renewable energy revolving loan fund (mentioned in the Strategic Plan under private sector investment).
The Details of the revolving loan fund will be described in more detail in the Energy Action Plan.
The ASSEP is awaiting approval from the Governor and afterwards, it will be sent to the National Renewable Energy Lab which was contracted by the Department of Interior to work with the American Samoa Renewable Energy Committee (ASREC).
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