Samoa is ready to IMPRESS with launch of large-scale renewable energy project

News and Press Release
Originally published

October 31st 2017, Apia – As officials gather in Bonn for the annual COP climate talks, the Government of Samoa and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today officially launched a multi-million dollar project (dubbed “IMPRESS” - “Improving the Performance and Reliability of Renewable Energy Power System in Samoa”) to enhance sustainable and cost-effective energy production in the Small Island Developing State.

The project is set to support national efforts towards achieving 100% renewable energy electricity generation by 2025, while also contributing to improved energy for everyday Samoans.

“Today’s important launch event reflects our government’s commitment to addressing climate change, and the drive of our small country – through the collaboration of different government ministries, state-owned enterprises and non-government organizations – to maximize indigenous renewable energy resources,” said Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment CEO, Ulu Bismarck Crawley.

“The development of a Biomass Gasification Plant at Mulifanua STEC Plantation is one example of how Samoa is starting to apply advanced renewable energy technology. In fact, this will be the first time such technology will be utilized for power generation and supporting stability of electricity grids, and its commercial operation demonstrated not just in Samoa but also in any of the Pacific Island Countries.”

Funded through the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with USD 6,075,828 and USD 46 million co-financing by the Government of Samoa, the implementation of the IMPRESS project will be led over the next five years by the Renewable Energy Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE-RED). The project document was signed by the Government of Samoa and UNDP in August this year.

The project will focus on sustainable energy policy formulation and implementation at the national level, access to new renewable energy technologies, support for community initiatives for saving electricity, productive and social uses of renewable energy and raising local communities’ awareness on the applications and benefits of renewable technologies.

Key stakeholders include the Samoa Trust Estate Corporation and the Electric Power Corporation, which will be responsible for one of the biggest components of the project. This is component 2 of the project that is focused on RE-based Energy System Improvements.

Samoa’s energy sector has grown considerably over recent decades, due to increasing demand for road vehicles and electrical appliances, along with the added steady growth in local industries such as manufacturing and tourism. Demand is currently met by three main sources: petroleum products including diesel, petrol, kerosene and LPG (68%), biomass (30%), hydropower (2%), and other small contributions from renewable resources such as solar and biofuels.

Developing clean, indigenous and renewable energy resources, improving the reliability of the electric grid, and promoting energy efficiency and conservation have become high-priority objectives for the Government.

In its Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement, Samoa set an ambitious target of 100% renewable energy for electricity generation through to the year 2025. The new project will contribute to the realization of this commitment. Direct GHG emission reduction over the lifetime of the project is estimated to be 25,267 tCO2e.

The objective of the inception workshop, held as part of the launch and attended by relevant stakeholders in government, private sector and the community representative was to assist the project team to clarify and take ownership of the Project’s goals and objectives, and to finalize the preparation of the project’s first annual work plan. It also provided an opportunity to introduce the project stakeholders and define their roles and responsibilities and decision-making structure.

The project is in line with national policies and measures to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions such as the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Strategy 2008-2018, National Infrastructure Strategic Plan (NISP) 2011-2021 and the STEC Corporate Plan 2015-2017.

The UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Notonegoro acknowledged the Government of Samoa in its efforts to achieving SDG-7, “The project is a milestone for sustainable energy development in the country. Samoa has demonstrated immense commitment at the global stage through its goal to be 100% renewable by 2025. This commitment by the Government indicates its role in addressing the energy challenges of the country and at the same time contributing to the global efforts to reduce Green House Gas Emissions (GHG)”.

For more information, please contact:
Vanda Faasoa Chan-Ting, ACEO RED-MNRE, Tel: (685) 67200; email:
Tessa Tafua, UNDP MCO Samoa Programme Officer, Tel: (685) 23670 Ext 21; email:
For more information on the project please visit the UNDP Samoa website and follow @UNDPSamoa on Twitter and Facebook