Hydropower station refurbishment in Pohnpei completed
Monday 14 July 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji – Access to affordable and reliable energy sources is key to enhancing sustainable livelihoods in Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs), as it decreases the reliance on imported petroleum fuel, which is seen as a major threat to energy security in the region.
Significant increases in petroleum prices in 2007–2008 had serious consequences for Pacific Island economies, constraining growth and development prospects, and in some cases reducing socio-economic gains.
While many countries in the region have set ambitious renewable energy targets and implemented various energy efficiency and conservation measures, the progress towards achieving these targets has been slow. This is largely due to limited national expertise in renewable energy and energy efficiency, lack of access to financing and low levels of planning capacity.
Last month, the North Pacific ACP Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency project (North-REP) implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and funded by the European Union, completed the refurbishment of the Nanpil hydropower plant, located approximately 5 km south of Kolonia, the capital of Pohnpei State in Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).
The plant was installed in 1986, and its operation was disrupted in 2003 due to heavy flooding, which damaged the equipment. Whilst some refurbishment was carried out in 2008, the system soon faced other technical problems affecting its operation.
In August 2013, SPC and Hangzhou Nannan Hydropower Development Co. of China signed a contract for the refurbishment of the hydropower plant.
Refurbishment begun in March 2014 with civil works improving the head pond, powerhouse and penstock. This was followed by installation of new equipment at the plant. The refurbishment work was completed in June 2014, including tests and training.
To strengthen the capacity of Pohnpei Utilities Corporation (PUC) in operation and maintenance, a training needs assessment specifically for the hydropower plant was conducted. A proposal for further technical assistance including a training schedule for the next 12 months is being developed.
The Nanpil hydropower plant is currently online and has generated over 50,000 kWh for the Pohnpei grid. The plant is operating on a 24-hour basis. The refurbishment work has been a collaborative effort of the contractor, PUC, local communities, the Pohnpei State government and the FSM national government.
North-REP aims to improve the overall efficiency of the energy sector through energy efficiency and grid-connected renewable energy in Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), FSM and Palau, and to increase access to reliable renewable electricity services for remote populations in RMI and FSM.