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Technical Assistance: Samoa

Samoa Grid Stabilization

Close to 50 percent of the Samoa’s electricity supply is produced by renewable sources. As more renewable generation comes online, the ability of the grid to handle the intermittent generation from various energy sources is fundamental to ensuring stable and reliable electricity supply for this Island Nation.

Electric Power Corporation (EPC, Samoa’s sole electricity utility) is mandated under the Government of Samoa to achieve a 70% renewable electricity grid by the year 2031. To help achieve this goal, EPC are seeking to review their electricity network to ensure it can deliver improved security of supply through increased resilience of the grid to accommodate embedded renewable energy generation.

A full technical feasibility study is needed to assess the fundamental supporting systems needed to enable an increasingly renewable grid while ensuring grid stability, including:

  • Battery energy storage system optimizations
  • Power management controls (reactive power management systems and active power controls)
  • Fault location optimizations
  • Centralized monitoring and control systems.

Task 1: Project initiation and data collection

The project will start with an inception call between the consultant, GGGI, and the Electric Power Corporation (EPC, Samoa’s National Utility). On the call, the scope and objectives of the assignment will be discussed, and EPC will give a preliminary overview of the grid stability challenges being faced.

The consultant shall then gather and review relevant data and information. This will include historical data on grid performance, load patterns, voltage fluctuations, and frequency variations as well as reviewing previous related studies such as:

    • Samoa grid stabilization pre-feasibility study, by dpSun, 2023
    • “Future Transmission” Network Protection Review Report by Northpower Ltd, 2012
    • Report and Model for Electric Power Corporation (EPC) prepared by Ricardo Energy & Environment in 2019
    • Final Report and Model for Electric Power Corporation (Samoa), by ESMAP 2019

Based on the review of previous studies and historical data, the consultant shall identify gaps in the information needed to conduct the technical assessment, and the approach planned to obtain that information or develop assumptions.

Deliverable 1: Inception report with confirmation of objectives and workplan and summary of desktop review and gaps.

Task 2: Technical feasibility assessment

The consultant shall conduct a full technical feasibility study to assess the fundamental support systems needed to enable an increasingly renewable grid. The technical assessment should provide a clear understanding of the current state, identify gaps, and propose well-defined practical and technical solution(s) that enhance the grid’s stability and reliability.

The consultant shall assess the following areas:

  • Battery energy storage system (BESS) optimizations:-  Existing BESS parameters: evaluate the current BESS parameters such as energy capacity, power output capability, efficiency, and response time. Assess how these parameters align with grid stabilization requirements.
    –  Additional BESS requirements for rapid frequency response: determine the optimal locations for additional BESS installations to enhance rapid frequency response. Analyze the potential benefits of distributed placement to cover a broader geographical area.
    –  Control strategy: Examine the control algorithms used for BESS operation. Assess their responsiveness, accuracy, and coordination with other grid stabilization measures. Consider advanced control strategies like predictive control for improved performance.
  • Reactive Power Management Systems:-  Evaluate the effectiveness of existing reactive power compensation devices such as Static VAR Compensators (STATVARs), capacitor banks, and additional BESS for voltage regulation. Analyse their response time and impact on voltage stability.
    –  Coordination with renewable generation: analyse how reactive power management systems can be effectively coordinated with the various distributed renewable generation sources in place. Ensure that voltage regulation mechanisms adapt to dynamic changes in generation.
  • Power System Analysis and Fault Location Optimizations:-  Advanced electronic devices: evaluate the existing capabilities of advanced electronic devices like Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs) for fault detection, isolation, and location. Assess their accuracy and response time.
    –  Integration of distributed generation: consider the challenges posed by distributed renewable generation in fault location. Analyse how fault currents and voltage variations from these sources affect fault detection and location accuracy.
    –  Sensor placement and communication: assess the placement of sensors and communication infrastructure for AEDs. Optimize the distribution of these devices to ensure comprehensive coverage of the distribution network.
  • Control Systems for Effective SCADA Management:
    –  SCADA system assessment: evaluate the current SCADA system’s capabilities, coverage, and data acquisition rate. Determine if the SCADA system can handle the increased data flow from new grid stabilization measures.
    –  Integration of new devices: assess the integration of new devices like BESS, reactive power compensation units, and fault detection devices with the existing SCADA system. Ensure seamless data exchange and remote-control capabilities.
    –  Data visualization and user interface: evaluate the SCADA system’s data visualization tools and user interface. Ensure that operators can easily monitor and manage the new grid stabilization measures through the SCADA system.
    –  Alarm and event handling: examine the alarm and event handling mechanisms of the SCADA system. Ensure that alarms related to grid stabilization are promptly raised, and operators can take corrective actions in real time.

The consultant shall conduct the technical assessments based on PowerFactory modeling and simulations, or equivalent. This will involve load flow, contingency, and fault analysis of the grid for the proposed/future operation scenarios and grid elements – with distributed batteries and upgraded SCADA systems and analysing how these measures would respond to grid disturbances, load changes, and renewable energy integration.

Based on the assessment, the consultant shall recommend measures and support systems to improve grid stability. Each optimization should be aligned with the overall grid stability goals, taking into account the evolving nature of the grid with increased renewable generation and changing load patterns. The draft technical assessment report will be reviewed by GGGI and EPC before recommendations are incorporated into final report.

Deliverable 2: Draft technical assessment report Deliverable 3: Final technical assessment report

Deliverables and payment schedule

Timetable and reporting arrangements

This project is expected to be completed by 31 January 2023. The assignment duration is 4 months with a tentative timetable shown below. The deliverables will be reviewed by GGGI who will provide comments within 1 week to be addressed by the consultant.

Reporting arrangements

The Consultant’s work progress shall be monitored primarily through periodic review meetings, the precise schedule of which is to be determined based on consultation with the Consultant. The Consultant is also expected to periodically produce, upon GGGI’s request, a formal progress report that includes: an overview of the project, a narrative description of project activities, detailed information on project objectives and milestones, actual achievements made against the timeline set, etc.

Competence requirements

The consultancy team should have appropriate experience and expertise in the energy sector and in the Pacific. Specifically, the firm should have:

  • Experience assessing the technical feasibility of energy projects, particularly relating to Power Systems Analysis, grid stabilization and BESS.
  • Experience working in the Pacific is required and experience in Samoa is highly desirable.
  • Team lead is required to have an electrical engineering degree from a reputable university and a minimum of 10 years relevant experience.

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