According to Fast Company, the island of Samoa is already at work to complete its seven-year plan to run entirely off of 100 percent renewable energy. The most recent piece of the plan fell into place this year when the island’s local utility teamed up with Tesla to install battery storage and a software system that can control its electricity supply.
The island decided to opt for renewable energy after watching costs, pollution, and threats to climate change rise; Samoa is actually at risk from sea level increases and new outbreaks of climate-related diseases. Plus, the island brought in 95 million liters of diesel fuel as recently as 2012, Fast Company reports. Since then, “the country has been ramping up the use of renewables, with five large solar plants, a wind farm, and hydropower plants.”
However, with cleaner energy came bigger power demands, which made Samoa’s grid unstable: “in the worst cases, it led to power outages. In the best cases, it meant the island was still relying on diesel power more than it wanted to,” Fast Company says.
Tesla installed two of its “Powerpack” battery systems earlier this summer, which has stopped power outages and kept electricity supply steady. Tesla also “developed and implemented island grid controller software that can control both the batteries and all of the power plants;” the grid is also customizable, and was able to integrate with Tesla’s software for autonomy.
With both solutions in tow, Samoa’s next goal is to drop diesel usage completely; the island anticipates minimizing diesel consumption as the utility grows and adds new renewable sources. “Stability has been achieved, but we’re still working on least cost of operation,” Fonoti Perelini S. Perelini, the project manager for the utility on Samao, told Fast Company. “We’d like now to reduce the use of diesel generators right up to no diesel, and we’d like to move away from using diesel at certain times when there’s a lot of renewable available.”