Solar & wind could power Manu’a as early as 2016

Wind and solar opportunities have been identified as two of the renewable energy strategies in the American Samoa Strategic Energy Plan (ASSEP), which will be forwarded to Governor Lolo Moliga for approval before the American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) and the Territorial Energy office (TEO) carry out implementation.

 

The plan, which was a collective effort of the American Samoa Renewable Energy Committee chaired by outgoing TEO Acting Director Tim Jones, notes that the islands of Olosega and Ta'u in Manu'a have a cost of power production that is 50% higher than the cost of electrical power production in Tutuila. The reason for this, according to the ASSEP, is primarily that the smaller diesel generators are less efficient than the large units on Tutuila, and there is an additional cost due to the delivery of fuel to Manu’a.

 

"The Manu’a grids of Olosega and Ta’u are small enough to facilitate energy storage, opening an avenue for near 100% solar and wind penetration on the Manu’a power grid," said the report. "Making Manu’a 100% solar and wind dependent will eliminate the need for challenging fuel deliveries, greatly enhancing the island’s power stability issues and mitigating the risk of spills into the pristine waters that surround both islands."

 

The ASSEP points out that stand-by diesel generators will need to run on occasion, acting as viable backups for the grid.

 

Solar and wind for Manu’a can be completed as early as the end of 2016.

 

With regards to neighboring Aunu’u, the report states that the island's power grid is approximately 90 kW.

 

"A subsurface marine extension was constructed in Manu’a a few decades ago, but continuous problems with the under-sea cable and the cost of repairs has led to abandoning the line," the report notes, adding that Aunu’u is now 100% reliant on self-generating diesels.

 

The ASSEP points out that the problems and solutions for Aunu’u are very similar to Manu’a as the grid is small enough to consider solar and wind with sufficient storage.

 

"This can be completed by the end of 2016," says the ASSEP.

 

As for Swains Island, the report says the island offers some unique challenges for the implementation of renewable energy projects. "As Swains is a privately owned Island, it would make sense to encourage private investment into energy related strategies. A recommendation in the Strategic Plan involves paving the way for low to no-cost loans for private sector investment into renewable energy."

 

The reports notes that Rose Atoll is currently uninhabited, with no known plans to change that status. Therefore, the energy requirements at Rose Atoll are expected to remain at zero.

 

Renewable energy strategies are only some of the issues discussed in the ASSEP draft which will be sent to the National Renewable Energy Lab - contracted by the Department of Interior to work with the American Samoa Renewable Energy Committee (ASREC).

 

The ASREC is a non-regulatory advisory group sponsored by the current Administration and comprised of local volunteers from multi-sector stakeholder communities and supported by federal agencies.

 

The group first convened in November 2010.

 

The ASREC has been asked to deliver a long-term Strategic Energy Plan that focuses on decreasing dependence on fossil fuels and encouraging the introduction and adoption of renewable technology. It is headed up by the TEO and ASPA who will take charge of the Strategic Plan, its development and its implementation. The Strategic Plan will be driven forward by the Strategic Energy “Action Plan” which assigns specific people to specific tasks with specific deadlines. The ASREC will review the status of the Action Plan monthly to report on progress. The action plan is the tool that will bring the Strategic Plan to life and keep it moving forward.

 

The Strategic Energy Plan for American Samoa takes into account solutions that are needed in the near future. Therefore, the Plan will initiate strategy and actions towards achievable goals to be completed by Oct. 2016.

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