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Hydropower generation may be a sustainable solution

One of the long-term sustainable solutions for renewable energy development, according to the American Samoa Strategic Energy Plan (ASSEP), is hydro power generation.


The report says that hydroelectric generation will most likely not appeal to the American Samoa Power Authority as "a potential high value renewable resource because there are only many small streams and no single source of water flow that would allow for the development of a single large hydro plant with dam storage and utility grade hydro-turbine generation.”


However, "several steadily flowing streams at 20-50 gallons per second (gps) at elevations of 300-600 ft. may very well be worth private sector investment if acceptable PPA’s can be made between the private land and resource owners, ASPA and the banks."


The ASSEP notes that the tropical environment in American Samoa sees more than 200 inches of rain annually; and due to steep terrain and mountains, the run off to the ocean is quite quick and flooding is normally avoided.


A post war hydro plant built by the US Navy in Fagatogo generated 60kw 24/7 when it was in operation many years ago, the report points out. "The dam and piping still exist today and are in the process of being restored for historic purposes."


According to the ASSEP, the Fagatogo plant shows the hydro capability that exists in American Samoa on a smaller scale, and provides evidence that investment may be practical at the private sector level.


"Low to no-cost loans could play a very big part of this renewable energy development," the report states. "Private sector investment will be critical for the implementation of these long-term sustainable solutions."


If the Strategic Energy Plan does not entice private sector investment and private sector ownership of renewable energy strategies, “the Plan has little chance of long-term success”.


Furthermore, in order "to entice the private sector to begin investing in energy conservation and renewable energy strategies, the Strategic Plan must provide financial motivation with minimal investment risk to the consumer."


This, according to the ASSEP, can be done in many ways, but the Plan recommends the establishment of a revolving loan fund, the details of which will be explained further in the subsequent Energy Action Plan.


The ASSEP will be forwarded to Governor Lolo Moliga for approval before ASPA and the Territorial Energy office (TEO) carry out implementation. A draft 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).