Samoa is moving forward with plans to produce energy from biomass as an alternative power source.
The Government of Samoa, the Samoan Trust Estates Corporation and the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa have been investigating the potential of using Samoa's old coconut plantations to produce energy for a number of years.
The project seeks to establish the biomass supply chain necessary to attract external investment to construct the country's first gas plant.
Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi signed a financing agreement for $US663,000 to lay the ground work for the proposed facility.
Samoa produces 35 percent of its electricity from renewable energy and the Government is committed to increasing this in line with its renewable energy target of achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2017.
The acting CEO of the Energy Division in the Ministry of Finance, Sione Foliaki, says energy sources such as solar will play a big role in helping to meet this target, but solar energy depends on the sun and can cause grid instability issues if used as high percentages of the energy mix.
He says the proposed gasification facility would add more diversity to the energy mix of the country and balance some of the solar infrastructure currently being installed.