ADB funds Samoan small hydro project construction, rehab

Funding from the Asian Development Bank will be used to rehabilitate and construct new small hydropower plants on Samoan islands Upolu and Savai’i.

ADB’s US$23.8 million will pay to repair projects on Upolu that were damaged in 2012 by Cyclone Evan while also funding another three new facilities to across Upolu and Savai’i.

The projects are intended to help Samoa decrease its dependency on diesel-generated energy, which currently accounts for about 60% of the country’s total power supply.

“Fuel imports to power the country’s electrical grid cost about 10% of [Samoa’s] gross domestic product each year,” ABD project team leader and energy specialist Paul Hattle said. “Lowering Samoa’s reliance on fossil fuels will help free up government funds for other needs while improving national energy security and sustainability.”

ADB said the work will also provide operation and maintenance training for the Electric Power Corporation.

The projects will be the first to make use of the bank’s Disaster Response Facility (DRF), which allows a member country to access up to 100% of its annual performance-based allocation to respond to disasters.

A series of grants will be used to fund the project, including $10 million sourced from ADB’s Asian Development Fund (ADF), an $8.21 million grant from the DRF, and a $1 million grant provided by the Multi-Donor Clean Energy Fund. The Government of Samoa will contribute $4.6 million.

Samoa’s Ministry of Finance will be responsible for executing the projects, with the Electric Power Corporation serving as the implementing agency.

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