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Making transportation in Samoa ‘greener’ project now underway

Source: UNDP

APIA, SAMOA – 29 JUNE 2023: A UN Development Programme project exploring the possibility of using electric vehicles and vessels to transform transportation in Samoa is now underway.

The Climate Action Pathways for Island Transport (CAP-IT): Accelerating the Decarbonization of Samoa’s Land and Maritime Transport Sectors’ Project, will help speed up Samoa’s climate change mitigation efforts by transitioning the country’s land and maritime transport sectors away from heavy reliance on fossil fuels.

The project is funded by Japan and began this month with a visit from renewable energy experts of the UN Information and Technology Management Department in Copenhagen. The ITM team is providing technical support related to electric vehicles (EV), EV charging infrastructure, and outboard motors.

The team met with key local stakeholders from the Government of Samoa and the private sector to conduct Green Energy Preliminary Site Surveys (GEPSS) in locations that will be earmarked for electric vehicles and charging stations.

The visit looked into the current EV fleet and charging infrastructure deployed by the Electric Power Corporation (EPC) and discussed connecting additional charging stations to the electricity grid. Interviews were carried out with vehicle service centers, importers, and dealerships to understand their readiness for importing and servicing EVs.

The team also visited the Samoa Recycling and Waste Management facility to learn about the logistics of handling discarded batteries and electronic waste. They also met with the owners of Samoa’s small fishing fleet about entry points for battery charging or swapping, and to gather information on low-carbon maritime transport.

The CAPIT Project Team
The CAPIT Project Team

The CAPIT Project Team met with key government stakeholders at the official start of the project earlier this month.

In the long term, the project will help Samoa keep in step with global developments in the transport sector and lead to other economic and environmental benefits such as better air quality, lower fuel costs, and a reduction in noise pollution.

“Transitioning from petrol to EVs would decrease Samoa’s reliance on imported fossil fuels, making the country more energy independent and resilient in the face of fluctuating oil prices. Moreover, the adoption of EVs would improve air quality on the island, leading to cleaner and healthier living conditions for both residents and tourists,” said Verena Linneweber, Officer-in-Charge, UNDP.

The regional project costs US$36.8 million of which US$15.5 million has been allocated for Samoa and is scheduled to be completed in March 2025.

The project is implemented by UNDP in partnership with various local stakeholders.

A maritime expert will visit in August to conduct a feasibility study for Samoa on low-carbon maritime transport.