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FEMA comes through with additional funding for new Satala power plant

The Federal Emergency Management will award more than $25 million to the American Samoa Power Authority as part of additional funding to rebuild the Satala Plant destroyed by the 2009 tsunami, but ASPA’s chief executive officer Utu Abe Malae says the challenge for the government is coming up with the 10% local share for the multi million dollar project.


In a news release sent yesterday by his office, Congressman Faleomavaega Eni announced that FEMA will award $25.27 million in additional federal funding for the Satala power plant project.


The funds will assist in replacing the power plant building and purchasing 23 megawatts of generating equipment (diesel generator sets), switch gear, transformers, radiators, tie-lines, and fuel tanks, according to the release.


Prior to this additional grant award, FEMA previously obligated $6.60 million towards this project, which has a cost of $52.19 million and is partly covered through insurance proceeds — $17.50 million — with the remainder funded by a 90% federal share and 10% local share, it says.


“Financially, the biggest challenge is the 10% matching from ASG” but that is being addressed by the Territorial Office of Fiscal Reforms (TOFR), Treasury Department, and the Capital Improvement Project leadership, Utu said yesterday responding to media questions. He also says funding is processed locally through TOFR and the Lieutenant Governor’s Office.


Utu said the engines for the project are already purchased and in storage in Wisconsin. (In its FY 2014 first quarter performance report, ASPA said all seven diesel engines for the Satala power plant were shipped to Darien, Wisconsin after engine tests were successfully completed last December.)


According to Utu, the building and facilities have been awarded to a stateside company, Louis Berger, and the project will begin “very soon”.


Last June, the Morristown, New Jersey-based Louis Berger announced it has won a $36 million contract to help rebuild the Satala Power Plant. The company said it will provide the engineering and plant design, equipment procurement, and installation and commissioning of the power generation and ancillary electrical equipment.


The major equipment will include seven primary generators, two emergency back-up generators, switchgear assembly, two station transformers and motor control centers, according to a company news release.


There were concerns raised in the Fono last year from ASPA’s residential neighbors in Satala about the possibility of loud noise coming from the power plant when it is fully operational again.


“In order for ASPA to be a better neighbor than at present or before, there will be cleaner emissions from more fuel efficient engines; the plant will be quieter; an acoustic wall installed and noise emission will actually be further from neighbors,” Utu said. “We will make accessibility easier for our neighbors as the plans include improving the present road.”


In his news release, Faleomavaega said this “crucial federal funding from FEMA... will restore American Samoa’s ability to meet our energy demands” and that the replacement of the power plant, is a “monumental victory for our people that will help us move even further beyond the memory of this tragedy”.


He called the project a “significant undertaking” and thanked FEMA for working hand-in-hand with the Lolo administration and ASPA to provide the assistance and expertise required.


Utu said “FEMA has been very responsive to our needs and it is sad that some of those responsible for that assistance are moving on to other opportunities in the near future. We will miss them.”


Click on attachment below to download a copy of the final federal Environmental Assessment notice for the ASPA project.