FSM & World Bank partner to improve electrical reliability, access, & efficiency

FSM Information Services

PALIKIR, Pohnpei—The 20th Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) completed its sixth regular session on January 24th, 2019, and among the good news in their recent work for the benefit of our Nation was Congressional Resolution 20-162 wherein the FSM has acquired SDR 21,600,000 which is just over $30,000,000 USD from the World Bank for, the Resolution says, “…the purpose of funding projects in the Federated States of Micronesia to improve reliability of electricity supply, expand access to electricity, and scale up renewable energy generation….”

“The FSM has an Energy Master Plan that was completed in 2018—we have individual State Master Plans and a National Plan identifying our priority projects, including the effort to provide reliable electricity services,” said Hubert Yamada, Assistant Secretary for the Department of Resources & Development in a meeting held on January 24th, 2019. “This is the second cycle of World Bank funding to the FSM…. The whole effort here is the continuation of energy project developments. We’re not just starting now—we’re continuing to scale up to develop and maintain reliable services throughout the FSM.”

Citizens can take heart in knowing that our Nation has big plans already in progress for using this funding effectively. About $11,800,000 is slated for Pohnpei State to finance the renovation of its power plant and to finance new generators to increase capacity by 7.5 megawatts. “Within the funds are intentions for peripheral upgrades as well, so it’s not only to provide increased power capacity but also to increase the reliability of electricity services,” said Assistant Secretary Yamada. A contract has been developed for a consultant to assist Pohnpei State in this project. The project will require approximately two years for completion.

“The [WB Grant] provides for villages’ expansion of access, for example in Satowan in the Mortlocks and Udot in the Lagoon islands of Chuuk,” Assistant Secretary Yamada continued. About $3,450,000 is to assist Chuuk State in expanding citizens’ access to electricity and another $9,900,000 is to increase Chuuk’s photovoltaic (PV) or solar power system by an additional 2.0 megawatts. A consulting firm has been selected to begin work on this project.

Yap State will benefit from an additional 600 kilowatt generator which should offer better efficiency for the power plant there. However, citizens should not be concerned that the small size means Yap is being forgotten—on the contrary, Yap’s electrical system is, broadly speaking, one of the healthiest in the FSM. “They’ve got a combination of wind generation, solar, and diesel at the moment,” said Ralph Karhammar, Energy Adviser at the Department of Resources & Development. “But they do have a bit of a problem—when the winds quiet down and the sun doesn’t shine, there can be frequent calling up of the diesel generators to come online…[the additional generator] should address this issue to make it more comfortable.”

As for Kosrae State, the bulk of their assistance will be in investing in solar battery banks. It may seem obvious that, long after the sun has set, solar panels don’t produce new electricity—so in order for power to be available during the night, battery banks store power generated during the day. Investment in battery banks—“We’re talking about a container full of them,” said Energy Adviser Karhammar—will allow Kosrae the capacity to substantially expand its network of solar panels, increasing the efficiency of its electricity services.

“National Energy Policy calls for secured, clean, and reliable electricity,” said Assistant Secretary Yamada. “And of course added to that is the aim to bring on more renewable sources of energy so that our reliance on imported fuel is lessened. At the same time, the effort is to try and provide to the communities reliable service at the least cost possible—really, that’s the goal right there.”

Citizens interested in learning more about these projects can visit the Department of Resources & Development website, located here: http://www.fsmrd.fm/ , visit the Department of Finance & Administration’s website, located here: https://dofa.gov.fm/ , or visit the World Bank’s collection of documents related to this project located here: http://projects.worldbank.org/P165183/?lang=en&tab=overview