The Samoan Prime Minister, the Honorable Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, today inaugurated the country’s first wind farm. Delivered by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, the 550 kWe project is the second completed under the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) $50 million Pacific Partnership Fund, which is managed by Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD). The inauguration ceremony comes two days before the start of the United Nations’ Third Conference on Small Island Developing States (1), in Samoa’s capital.
Located on the Samoan island of Upolu – home to nearly 75 percent of the population – the wind farm will supply 1,500 MWh of power per year, delivering US$475,000 in annual fuel cost savings. The innovative ‘cyclone proof’ project will also reduce the island’s carbon footprint by more than 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year.
The UAE Pacific Partnership Fund supports the deployment of renewable energy across Pacific island states and represents one of the largest-ever investments in clean energy across the region. The grant is managed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, and coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate of Energy and Climate Change. Masdar partners with each nation’s government and leads the design and implementation process.
First announced during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January 2014 (2), the Samoan wind farm is the second project to be completed under the fund. Masdar is also currently progressing solar PV projects in Fiji, Kiribati, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. A 512 kWe solar PV installation in Tonga, achieving nearly 70 percent grid penetration, was the first project to be completed.
The projects address the very high cost of diesel imports in Pacific countries, as well as delivering reductions in CO2 emissions. Research from the International Renewable Energy Agency indicates that renewable energy is now the most cost competitive source of power in the Pacific (3), but deployment has been constrained by access to finance and expertise. The cumulative 2.8 MWe capacity of the six identified projects, will substitute 1.5 million litres of diesel fuel otherwise imported each year. The projects together will deliver annual savings of US$1.87m and avoid 4,450 tons of CO2.
The pioneering project in Samoa includes two 55 meters high turbines that can pivot at the base, and be lowered and locked in place in less than 1 hour. This collapsible design helps to avoid damage from the region’s numerous cyclones.
Filed Under: News, Projects, Turbines