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  • By Joyce McClure

Yap taps wind, solar power

A ribbon-cutting marks FSM effort to move to alternative energy sources

Awaiting the ribbon-cutting countdown: Ted Rutun, Speaker, Yap State Legislature; James Lynch, Deputy Director General, ADB; Gov. Tony Ganngiyan, Yap; FSM President Peter Christian; James Gilmar, Chairman of the Board of YSPSC (Photo: Joyce McClure)

Colonia--Federated States of Micronesia President Peter Christian praised the project, which has been in the works for seven years as “the first step” in the country’s strategic development goal of using “affordable, reliable energy sources” to supply 30 percent of the nation’s energy needs by 2020 and 50 percent by 2030.

The tangible results of the work are three massive wind turbines atop a hill overlooking a wide panorama of the island, reef and ocean, but they're just part of the island’s new grid-connected wind and solar power plants and diesel-fed generator hybrid system.

Gathering to herald the completion of Yap’s Renewable Energy Development Project, FSM President Peter Christian and Governor Tony Ganngiyan expressed their thanks to the Asia Development Bank, World Bank, Entura, Vergnet and CAT Energy which financed, designed and installed the system at a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The two leaders were joined by Ted Rutun, Speaker of the Yap State Legislature, James Lynch, Deputy Director General of ADB, and James Gilmar, Chairman of the Yap State Public Service Commission, to inaugurate the hybrid system.

"In the past," said President Christian, “we explored the seas with rafts and canoes. Today we voyage with the world.”

Approved in 2013, the Yap Renewable Energy Development Project, funded by two ADB loans totaling $9 million, supported the construction of a wind farm capable of withstanding typhoons near Colonia, Yap’s only urban center. Grid-connected solar panels were also installed on about five government buildings across the island and new fuel-efficient diesel generators replaced aging ones.

“The project helps the state of Yap achieve a renewable energy future by reducing dependency on imported diesel through the expansion of renewable power generation,” Lynch said.

According to ADB, the wind farm is expected to generate about 11 percent of the current delivered electricity supply in Yap, while the solar facilities will produce about 6 percent. Fuel savings from the more efficient generators will also reduce diesel consumption by about 11.5 percent from current levels. In total, the project will allow renewable energy sources to replace about 17 percent of electricity currently generated by diesel generators.

With only 200 kilowatt peak installed from solar panels before the project, the main island of Yap, with a population of 11,400, is 97.6 percent dependent on imported diesel for power generation, and the economy is highly vulnerable to fuel price movements.

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