Island nations are some of the world’s most pioneering leaders in renewable energy solutions. Feeling the pressure and experiencing the effects of climate change, they recognize the need for clean and sustainable energy solutions for their populations.
In Samoa, the MWH, now part of Stantec, team is working with local leaders to decrease the country’s dependence on fossil fuel imports through developing and improving the operation and asset management of their hydro station fleet. By taking a proactive approach to increasing their renewable energy generation will result in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and their reliance on diesel and heavy fuel oil.
Recently, the Foreign Minister of New Zealand, Murray McCully, attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Fuluasou Hydropower Project. The visit was part of his farewell tour of the Pacific and to show New Zealand’s support of renewable energy in Samoa – a key focus area for the New Zealand Aid Programme. The groundbreaking was also attended by the Samoa Prime Minister and the Asian Development Bank’s Alternative Board of Directors, who, following the ground breaking ceremony, toured a number of the other sites currently under construction.
The New Zealand government, along with the Asian Development Bank and the European Union, are funding a program of works that include the rehabilitation of three hydropower schemes and the construction of three new hydropower projects throughout Samoa. MWH is currently serving as Owner’s Engineer for the Electric Power Corporation of Samoa for all the hydropower projects and is providing technical, financial and procurement support to the electricity authority, as well as site supervision services.
The MWH team is also working to “future proof” the projects against potential damage from cyclones and other natural disasters. Andrew Bird, Asia/Pacific Dams and Hydro Sector Leader at MWH, is currently acting as lead civil engineer for the projects and was able to attend the groundbreaking ceremony in March. Having worked on the rehabilitation of the three small hydro schemes that were devastated during a cyclone in 2012, and having personally experienced a small quake in Samoa while on site in 2014, he knows firsthand the importance of taking this pro-active approach to the asset management of these sites and regularly allocating funds for regular maintenance and replacement. Andrew states: “When these nations plan for the future they have to not only address climate change, but also plan for these potential natural disasters.”
MWH is proud to be working with Samoa to address these issues and help them achieve energy independence.