The Human Rights Protection Party

What is Good for Apia is also good for Savaii!
"O le mea e lelei i Apia, e lelei foi mo Savaii"

Jul 19

Samoa first to access US$4 million for solar power project

Signing off: MWTI Minister Manualesagalala Enokati Posala, Japanese representative for PIF dealings in Fiji Yutaka Yoshizawa, PIF Secretary General Tuiloma Neroni Slade and Deputy Prime Minister Fonotoe Pierre Meredith

Samoa is the first country to access US$4million under the Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund.

The PEC Fund is a dedication of 6.8 billion Yen (US$66 million) by the Japanese Government to support Forum Island Country (FIC) projects with a focus on the provision of solar power generation systems and desalination plants, or a combination of both.

The US$4 million PEC Fund allocation for Samoa will, in its entirety, go towards the Samoa 400kWp Solar PV Project, to be managed by the Electric Power Corporation (EPC).

At the signing ceremony held last Friday in Apia, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, congratulated Samoa for being the first FIC to access its country allocation.

“I also take this opportunity to thank the Government of Japan and its people for this generous contribution, which will no doubt assist the Government of Samoa in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions through the use of renewable energy options, and reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.”

Tuiloma added that he looked forward to other countries of the region tapping in to the PEC Fund.

“It is encouraging to note that most countries are making significant progress in the development of their detailed project proposals to access the PEC Fund and the Secretariat looks forward to receiving them in due course.”

Also at the signing ceremony, held at Tanoa Tusitala Hotel, was Japan’s Ambassador to Fiji His Excellency Yutaka Yoshizawa, who is responsible for Japan-PIF relations while stationed in Fiji.

“I wish Samoa success in the implementation of this project, so that this will be a great model for future projects under the PEC Fund,” said the Ambassador. “I hope that many other projects under the PEC Fund will be formalised in the near future for all 14 Forum Island Countries.”

Samoa’s Minister for Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Manualesagalala Enokati Posala said, “This project will provide a number of benefits to the EPC and the people of Samoa.”

“It is expected that this project will displace approximately 135,000 litres of fuel per annum. This represents SAT 350,000 in fuel cost savings as well as a reduction in harmful greenhouse gas emissions.”

EPC General Manager, Muaausa Joseph Walter said Samoa relies heavily on imported fossil fuels to meet its energy needs including power generation.

“About 40% of Samoa’s total electricity production is generated from hydro, with the rest from two diesel power plants and a very small percentage from solar power,” said Muaausa.

He said that with the unpredictable price of fuel and the impact of climate change and climate variability on the region, the EPC has faced a number of problems in trying to provide reliable and affordable electricity to the nation.

“Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is a proven technology and with the abundant resource available, Samoa can benefit from the additional and secure energy supply.”

He also explained that the PV systems would not have batteries for power storage, as the harnessed energy will feed directly in to the national power grid.

“This is less expensive as there are no battery cells to charge up and maintain,” he said.

Although the initial project is only for the generation of 400kWp of electricity (enough to power three villages), this is anticipated to be a stepping stone for future projects that will reduce the EPC’s and Samoa’s reliance on fossil fuels for power generation, resulting in significant fuel and electricity cost savings.

Secretary General Slade further welcomed Samoa’s efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

“It is well-acknowledged that the role of our island nations in the causes of global climate change is miniscule, though the impact on them is great and the security and sustainability of our countries are highly at risk,” he said.

“Now is the time to act and I commend the Government of Samoa for its efforts to mitigate against the impacts of climate change through the generous contribution of the Government of Japan.”

“For a project such as this one to be effective and sustainable, clear linkages need to be established between the relevant national, regional and international development priorities,” added Tuiloma.

“Samoa’s project does exactly this, by linking the Strategy for the Development of Samoa 2008-12 and the Samoa National Energy Policy, with international and regional policies and plans, including the Millennium Development Goals, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Pacific Plan, Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change 2006-15 and the recently endorsed Framework for Action on Energy Security in the Pacific,” he said.

Tuiloma added that making such linkages was also in line with Forum Leaders’ commitment under the Forum Compact on Strengthening Development Coordination endorsed in 2009.

“I encourage the implementers of Samoa’s 400kWp Solar PV Project, EPC, to continually report on the impacts and outcomes of this project through the various national, regional and international instruments, and wish the Government of Samoa every success in the implementation of this important project.”

Some background information about the PEC Fund.

In May of 2009 Pacific Islands Forum Leaders met with the Government of Japan at the 5th Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (PALM 5) in Hokkaido, Japan. At the PALM 5 Summit, Leaders issued the Islanders’ Hokkaido Declaration which reaffirmed Leaders’ commitment to collaborate and cooperate on wide range of issues.

A significant part of the Declaration was the launch of the PEC Fund, under which Japan provided a 6.8 billion Yen contribution to Forum Island Countries to tackle environmental issues. A PEC Project Management Unit (PMU) has been set up at the Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji, tasked with administering and managing the PEC Fund. The PMU is guided by a Joint Committee (JC), chaired by the Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat. A Technical Advisory Group (TAG) comprising nominated experts in the fields of climate change, renewable energy, water and sanitation has been set up to appraise project proposals and make recommendations to the JC.

Author: Renate Rivers (Savali)
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