The Pacific island country of Samoa has announced its first wind farm, developed by an Abu Dhabi renewable energy company, Masdar.
Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi inaugurated the 550 kWe project last week. It will supply 1,500 MWh of power per year, equating to around $US475,000 in annual fuel cost savings.
“The new wind farm is a significant step forward in Samoa’s transition to a more sustainable energy future,” he said.
“Access to renewable energy is vital to our long-term economic development, even beyond the substantial gains realized by cutting our dependence on imported fuel.”
The Samoan wind farm is the second project to be completed under the $50 million Pacific Partnership Fund, managed by Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD).
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 hope to address the high cost of diesel imports in Pacific countries, as well as delivering reductions in carbon emissions. Research from the International Renewable Energy Agency indicates that renewable energy is now the most cost competitive source of power in the Pacific, but deployment has been constrained by access to finance and expertise.
The cumulative 2.8 MWe capacities 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 USD$1.87m and avoid 4,450 tons of carbon emissions.
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 one hour. This unique collapsible design helps to avoid damage from the region’s numerous cyclones.
The inauguration came ahead of the third UN Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) that has begun in Samoa, with 3,000 delegates from 193 members states meeting for the once-in-a-decade conference in the hope of gathering momentum for climate action ahead of the Ban ki-Moon summit later in September.
Masdar is a wholly owned section of the Mubadala Development Company PJSC, the strategic investment company of the Government of Abu Dhabi.
UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, explains, “this UAE supported project, and others like it underway across the Pacific, unlock significant economic and social benefits across the region.
“By providing local sources of renewable energy and reducing reliance on imported fuels, the UAE is helping countries like Samoa realize its development ambitions, while also delivering valuable clean energy infrastructure.”