Kudos to ASPA — RFP issued for Satala Power Plant

A new Satala Power Plant is expected to break ground after the first of the year and the American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) has put out a Request for Proposals (RFP).

 

The design and construction RFP for the new plant “is open to any contractor who does this kind of work,” according to ASPA Executive Director Utu Abe Malae, who added that the work is somewhat specialized and challenging, with bids for the generators separate from the building. 

 

Utu explained that if an off-island company is awarded the project, they would have to sub-contract much of the civil, concrete, and mechanical and some of the electrical work to local companies.  

 

According to Utu, work on the new Satala power plant is expected to start in February 2014 and expected to be completed within an 18-month time period.   

 

Samoa News asked Utu if there is a difference between the new proposed power plant and the old one that was damaged in the ‘09 tsunami (i.e. more generators, structure size, etc). 

 

Utu responded that the new power plant will be about the same size, “but these newer engines are more ‘fuel efficient’.”

 

He said there will be seven engines with a total of 23MV and the equipment costs $36 million. The building and facilities have a separate price tag of $14 million. Funding is from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and insurance monies.

 

Utu said the new plant will be located on slightly higher ground and the critical equipment will be outside the "VE Flood Zone boundary".

 

Meanwhile, Utu said, several ASPA engineers and technicians are in the US mainland this month to witness the final testing of the engines. 

 

The new power plant will include office spaces that Utu said would be limited to the plant operators and plant engineer. The engineering and administrative staff will remain at the ASPA Tafuna office.

 

SInce the Satala power plant was damaged in the 2009 earthquake and tsunami, all of ASPA’s administrative personnel and operations had to be relocated to Tafuna. Currently, 6-8 ASPA employees work at the Satala power plant, rotating on three shifts per day.

 

BACKGROUND

 

In a story published in Samoa News four years ago this month, we reported the second phase of a three-tiered power restoration plan for American Samoa following the Sept. 29, 2009 disaster was implemented when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) “threw the switch” at the Satala power plant transitioning the ASPA system from the Tier I FEMA generators to the Aggreko units that arrived on island in early Nov. 2009.

 

Tier I of the power restoration plan involved airlifting 56 FEMA generators via military aircraft to meet immediate power needs. Small- to- medium sized generators were installed throughout the island to provide critical power to schools, government and community agencies, sewage stations and water wells.

 

“The Tier I generators gave us the quick fix we needed to guarantee emergency power for American Samoa,” said FEMA’s acting Federal Coordinating Officer, Michael H. Smith in Nov., 2009. “Tier II provides us larger generators for sustainable power production, as ASPA develops its final Tier III power solution.”

 

Tier II of the plan included the delivery, installation and activation of 27 Aggreko one-megawatt generators, with eighteen located at the Satala Power Plant and the remaining nine at the Tafuna plant.

 

As reported in the story four years ago, the Sept. 29 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent flooding severely damaged the Satala Power Plant and the loss left Tutuila with insufficient electrical generation for approximately 50% of its customer base.

 

As a result, ASPA was forced to run its Tafuna Power Plant at full capacity, which under normal operating conditions, runs at about 80 percent capacity to cover surge power demands. The additional demand on the Tafuna plant significantly increased the chances of a total system failure; prompting FEMA and ASPA to develop the three-tier power restoration plan.

 

Tier III of the power restoration plan for American Samoa involved determining if the Satala Power plant could be repaired or if it needed to be replaced. FEMA previously announced that the U.S. Department of Energy is providing assistance to ASPA in the planning of the Satala Plant replacement.

 

In 2011 ASPA issued a press release announcing that it was bringing online eleven new CAT generators to replace the Aggreko generators at the Satala Power Plant location.  The CAT generators were expected to put a total capacity of 18MW in place to assume the electric load demands that, prior to the earthquake/tsunami, was served by the Satala Power Plant. The commissioning of this project was part of the long‐term plan to restore reliable power to the east side of the island and ultimately to re‐build a permanent plant in the next 2‐3 years.

 

Background provided from a 2009 report by Fili Sagapolutele and a 2011 ASPA press release.

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