Currently, the Territory of American Samoa is largely dependent on imported petroleum products, primarily diesel fuel, for energy. Electricity rates for residents are approximately $0.29 per kilowatt-hour, more than twice the average U.S. residential rate. In 2009, the 8.3 magnitude Samoa earthquake and tsunami caused extensive damage, including damaging the diesel-based Satala power plant, the primary power generator for the largest island, Tutuila. Repairing and improving the resiliency of the Salata plant was an immediate priority, however the 2009 earthquake also has increased the urgency for more investments in renewable energy.
In 2016, the island of Ta’u in the Manu’a Island group converted to 100 percent solar power through the American Samoa Power Authority’s Renewable Energy PV Project. The project includes 1,410 kW from more than 5,000 solar panels and 6,000 kWh of battery storage, which replace 110,000 gallons of diesel. At the beginning of 2019, the American Samoa Power Authority signed purchase power agreements for a $47 million for a new solar project and $100 million for a new wind power project, combined these projects are projected to reduce energy costs by more than 50 percent. Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has set the goal that American Samoa will obtain 50 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2025 and to obtain 100 percent by 2040.
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