Is there any scaled Wind, Solar, or Tidal Power Production in FSM

Just kicking around the net tonight and thought I’d check in with the People of FSM. It has been a long time.
Are there any Kind, Gentle, Studied, and Principled people left in the world?
If you consider yourself one and know of any scaled Solar, Tidal, or Wind going on anywhere in FSM could you please describe it to me?
When I visited the Waab People a decade or so ago I believe the cost of electricity off the Yap grid was about 48 cents per kilowatt hour. .48/KWH.
Is anyone seeing a positive return on investment in those technologies out there at the end of the world?


  • Kaselehlie Gavilan,

    I'm not sure if I am kind, gentle, studied, or principled, but I will do what I can to answer your question. For context, I've lived on Pohnpei for approximately six years and work for the Pohnpei Department of Education (as opposed to Pohnpei Utility Corporation).

    I am confident that solar power is more common now than it was when I first arrived. For example, Nett Elementary School didn't have any solar panels on its roof in 2012 or 2013. However, in I believe 2014 the roof of all four buildings were covered in panels. The power generated doesn't go to the school, but feeds into the PUC grid. My presumption is that this is true for other schools and public buildings with solar panels on them on the main island, of which there are several.

    Our outer island schools all have solar power systems of varying quality. Kapingamarangi School was without power for almost five years due to their system breaking down. They had a solar battery type that required clean water to be poured in occasionally, perhaps even daily, and it became contaminated. As of June 2018, Pohnpei Department of Education replaced that solar system with a new gel-type that doesn't require maintenance. Some remote schools that are within the Pohnpei lagoon, e.g. Parem School, have a solar system as well that provides all of their power needs. I want to say that their system was installed in either 2014 or 2015.

    The Vocational Education Chairman at PICS is one of the FSM's only solar certified, uh, folks. I'm sure there's an official title for that. Anyway, he's the one responsible for fixing the system in Kapingamarangi and he is also a good friend of mine. I can provide you his email address if you'd like; he can likely tell you more about solar generation in Pohnpei or the FSM than I can.

    I believe power in Pohnpei proper is presently .42/KWH, and power prices fluctuate depending on the cost of diesel. I recall paying more than .50/KWH at one point, and I believe .37/KWH at one point as well. Friends of mine who work at PUC inform me that our generation is still primarily diesel, of which I am told some are donations or purchases from Japan, or purchases from China--though I am also told that some of our Chinese generators were counterfeit i.e. they didn't have model numbers, etc. I cannot confirm or deny that claim, however. A few months ago, experts in Guam came to Pohnpei to help us re-stabilize our grid, which had been going off and on multiple times per day.

    In Pohnlangas, Madolenihmw there is a relatively new generator that I believe produces 5 megawatts. I want to tell you that it is powered by water, so perhaps that is a tidal generator?, but I don't know this for certain and I haven't actually seen it--though nor I have gone looking for it.

    To summarize, I would suggest that solar power generation is likely far more common in Pohnpei now than it was the last time you were in the FSM. To what degree it impacts what customers pay, and to what degree it feeds into the grid, I cannot say with any authority. I'm not familiar with any large-scale tidal or wind power projects, but I am also not an expert in these things and I don't work in that sector. I can't speak at all on the other FSM states' capacity to generate electricity.

    I hope my response is more useful than not at all.

    Ni wahu,

    -Richard Clark

  • Dear Mr. Clark:

    Thank you for your informative response to my inquiry.

    Imagine if the FSM education system financed the technical education of a few intelligent and disciplined young people in the specific technologies of most potential? How long would it take for a competitive cadre of technicians and providers to develop?

    At current prices, grid integration of individual systems would allow PUC to purchase and resell power at margins that would allow PUC to advance their grid technology; and free them from the chaotic economic whims of diesel fuel markets.

    Storage is the Holy Grail for making intermittent power production work; and there are a number of quite efficient and scalable methods. Pumped storage, other gravitational systems, flywheel storage, and advanced battery storage are becoming mature storage technologies.

    Tidal power appears as the most predictable source of energy production with relatively short intervals between usable power production cycles; and suppliers of these types of systems exist. Solar is a mature scalable technology that could certainly be profitable well below current energy prices.

    Given energy prices as they are I am confident reasonable investment in education and training in solar, tidal, and storage technologies would pay rewarding dividends; especially in the remote locations of FSM.

    Mark J Carter
  • OceanDot;

    Thank you for your input. I had heard of the Kosrae project but have been unable to determine whether the system had been installed and brought on line.
    I am very interested in this project; especially how the challenges of slack water cycles are met. What type of storage are they using?

    One company I contacted a few years ago can modify their bladed tidal power generation systems as pumps for pumping water for pumped storage.

    The possible iterations for hybridizing solar and tidal are many.

    First appearance makes be believe that at current electricity prices FSM would be an ideal test bed for such systems.

    As PUC could profit from the purchase and resale it might be in their interest to seek out investors.

    Again, thank you for your input.

  • Any tidal channel that has a flow of 1.9 meters per second and a depth greater than 20 meters can be a potential location for a tidal turbine.
  • imagei believe there should be one
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