BY Lagi Keresoma
APIA: TUESDAY 12 NOVEMBER 2013: Scrap the idea of geothermal energy. It’s too dangerous, said Shadow Minister of Electric Power Corporation (EPC), Levaopolo Talatonu.
Dig deep enough into the earth to harness geothermal energy poses the risk of causing a volcano to erupt to the surface, Levaopolo said.
“We need to be cautious not to create more problems,” he said.
“Solar and wind (energy) will suffice for Samoa,” said the Gagaemauga No. 2 MP.
EPC Minister Manu’alesagalala Enokati Posala has gone to China with a wish list. One of the items on the list is to ask China to establish a geothermal power system for Samoa.
Except for that request Levaopolo agrees with the wish list, which was prepared for Manu’alesagalala by EPC General Manager Tologata Tile Leia.
In a letter dated 12 June but discussed again shortly before the minister left for China last week, Tologata lists the items he wanted the minister to ask China for.
1. 4 x 500kw sound proof containerised portable generators on trailers for the Small Island Development (SID) meeting here next year. “These portable generators can be used by EPC after SID meeting for recovery works after disasters as well as for standby.”
2. 100 x solar LED street lights with poles for the sports complex. “If we can get sme LED solar street lights to be installed on our existing power poles (it would) be great. This will reduce power consumption.”
3.”Smart meters to replace induction (readable meters) to allow for remote reading and power demand control. This will also assist EPC to reduce its system losses.”
4. “Assist with design and construction of ‘SMART GRID’ to accommodate penetration of renewable energies and improve power system management and coordination.
5. Help to hire a company to conduct a geothermal study of Samoa. “Geothermal is the cheapest source of energy appropriate for the Pacific especially Samoa which has volcanic islands.” Such a study is expensive and EPC does not have the money for it as well as build a power house to run on geothermal. A company is looking at doing a geothermal study for American Samoa and has approached EPC for its interest in being included. “Bottom line is that we do not have any funds for this study.”
6. “Any renewable energy technologies that China can offer for Samoa.”
Levaopolo has reason to be concerned with volcanoes. One wiped out villages in his constituency in the early 1900sand the lava fields at Samalaeulu are what remains to date.