Samoa aims for energy efficient transport sector

In Samoa IUCN is helping the land transport sector, the nation’s largest consumer of imported petroleum, to reduce its consumption rate by drawing people's attention towards the value of energy efficient vehicles.

Public bus in Samoa.

Samoa is an independent state comprising two main islands, Upolu and Savai’i, and eight small islets. The total land area is 2,934 km2 and the population is around 180,000 with 75% residing on Upolu. The economy is dominated by agriculture, mainly coconuts and root crops. It has a small manufacturing sector. Tourism is thriving and the number of tourists coming into Samoa and revenue has double over the last decade. Like its neighbouring island nations, Samoa is prone to natural disasters. In late 2009 an earthquake and the resulting tsunami caused severe damages to infrastructure and many homes resulting in about 200 deaths.

Samoa is highly dependent on imported petroleum fuels as its primary energy source. In 2011, total energy produced in Samoa was estimated at 113.7 kilo tonnes of oil equivalent. Of the total energy produced, 28.6% was from biomass, 69.0% from petroleum while the remaining 2.4% from hydropower, coconut oil bio-fuel and other minor renewable sources. Future development plans are anticipated to increase the share from renewable sources to meet the 20% target by 2030.

Samoa is committed to fulfilling its obligations under several multilateral environmental agreements. For example it has put in place a national Greenhouse Gas Abatement Policy that is a derivative of the national Climate Change Policy.

The project has two components; both targeting the land transport sector. One component focuses on enhancing energy efficiency through awareness campaigns and promoting non-motorized transport such as walking and cycling. The second component looks at developing biofuels derived from coconut and Jatropha to replace at least a part of the fossil fuels used by the transport sector in Samoa.

The Renewable Energy Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment manages the project and the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa and the Land Transport Authority implement the project. They are joined by the Electric Power Corporation, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to form the steering committee which provides advice and oversight.

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the land transport sector.


  • Switching to bio-fuel (copra oil) helps reduce the country's dependence on imported petroleum fuels.
  • Copra oil provides an alternative means of income generation for farmers. Also coconuts are readily available in Samoa and do not need new plantation.
  • Less use of petroleum fuels translates to less carbon emissions.
  • Vehicle owners understand the value of keeping their vehicles in good roadworthy condition.
  • Well maintained vehicles are more efficient and therefore emit less carbon dioxide. In addition, they have a much longer life, consequently avoiding the need for early replacement.

2008 – 2013


  • Directorate General for Development Cooperation (DGCS), Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Austrian Development Cooperation
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