My remnant concern with monoculture (coconut, new bio-fuel plants, even cocoa - driving many biomass/ gassification projects today - is what happens to traditional use of arable land and undeveloped forests? Will the emphasis on energy production impact on the local folks' decisions to clear undeveloped land and plant non-edible plants at the risk of food short-falls in the event of a shorter term climate event messing with their ability to feed themselves. Would Samoa become a net importer of staples in such an event?
I remain an advocate of hybrid solutions - a mix of hydro, solar, geothermal and bio... eggs in diverse baskets, and localised to meet local smaller-scale community requirements.
Everyone seems to always avoid talking about load loss on national grids. It can be astronomical, and additionally, if you have a major section of this grid wiped out by a disaster then everyone suffers... instead, think of creating 'pockets' of local community-based energy in different parts of the islands. Many villages, many energy plants.
I like modular power solutions - I have a solar rig at home which generates, on average, 4 kW daily, and a generator which is can be doctored to accommodate biofuel instead of diesel. I'm exploring small-scale gassification to complement this outfit with local bush encroachment - a source of income for local unemployed community. I calculate I can triple my energy production to 12-14 kW daily, and supply enough extra power to charge the batteries of the 20-seater electric bus I want to bring in to serve the schools requiring environmental education outing for their life science classes to our place. Any surplus power would be available for local diversification - build a few more guest or staff houses to also benefit from this local off-grid solution.
You'll have noticed my abundant use of the word 'local' 🙂