By EDDIE OSIFELO
ABOUT 141 houses in Central Guadalcanal are expecting light for the first time this Christmas.
The Tina River Hydro Project is delivering electricity after the signing of a collaboration agreement between Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification and state owned enterprise Solomon Power today.
The signing has given a green light for a 111 Kilowatts high voltage (HV) extension and 415 vaults low voltage (LV) distribution networks, thanks to Community Benefit Sharing Project.
This will see the construction of a HV extension and LV distribution network running along nine kilometres of road from Black Post leading up to the Tina Community in the Bahomea region.
ANN City Power Solution, a local company is contracted to complete the $7.6 million project within a span of three months.
Operation Manager, Noel Bako said the company will engage people in the community to dig holes and put-up poles.
Bako said 144 High Voltage wooden poles and 143 Low Voltage galvanized poles will be put up and spread out for about 8 kilometers.
Minister of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, Bradley Tovosia was the excited man yesterday.
“Two years ago, I stood with so many questions in mind, witnessing the launch of the Community Benefit Sharing Project (CBSP) with communities around Tina.
“Now I can testify to the realization and accomplishment of the launch,” he said.
Tovosia said through this partnership between CBSP and Solomon Islands Electricity Authority trading as Solomon Power, the Government will again be enabled to bear witness to another important infrastructure project for the people of Malango in Central Guadalcanal.
Further to that, he encouraged the chief, local leaders and local communities around Malango and Bahomea to be visionary, organized, reasonable and appreciative and supportive to your leader in Parliament and Provide to better harness the productive benefits of the project.
Guadalcanal Province Premier Francis Sade has congratulated both parties for the milestone.
“It is not too often we witness such another important undertaking in the energy sector, especially for clean and renewable energy in the country.
“Therefore, my Government for Inclusive Change and Sustainable Development is not only humble, but also thrilled to be part of this mammoth development since 2019,” he said.
About 70 percent of the population living in the city are tipped to access cheaper electricity when the 15MW dam at the cost of US$240.8 million project is completed in 2025.
At the moment these same people are struggling with the higher cost of electricity provided by Solomon Power to their households.
Premier Sade said the positive developments, direct and indirect, to not only the people of Solomon Islands, but the indigenous people of Guadalcanal, mostly in the Central Guadalcanal area which aligns with this sustainable development.
“For instance, the opportunities range from, but not limited to employment opportunities, communities’ initiatives, small micro finance programmes, education opportunities, and conservation and preservation opportunities especially in the catchment areas.
“Needless to mention, the spill of effects of this TRHDP would also propel the several policy objectives 2019-2023 strategy of Guadalcanal Province,” he said.
However, Minister of Communication and Aviation, Peter Shanel Agovaka, who is also a landowner of the project site, said all is not well.
Agovaka said all landowners must benefit from the project and not those that signed the acquisition process.
He said there is a need for working together to support landowners who are left out.
“We need to unite together so that nobody is left behind.
“Everyone should be inclusive,” he added.
The significant model about the Tina Hydro Project is a combination of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement involving the Solomon Islands Government and six financiers.
1. Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD): $15m (approved January 2017);
2. World Bank: $34m (approved August 2017);
3. Government of Australia: $13m (approved June 2017)
4. Green Climate Fund (GCF): $86m (approved April 2017);
5. Korea-EX-IM Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF): $32m (approved August 2017)
6. Asian Development Bank (ADB): $30m (approved 26 September 2019).
The Tina Hydro Limited (THL) was established to develop, finance, construct and operate the 15 MW hydropower plant.
Contracted to THL, Hyundai Engineering Co (HEC) is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group and one of the largest Engineering construction companies in Korea.
The power purchase agreement (PPA) which has a term of 30 years is the legal contract for the purchase of power from Tina Hydro Limited which will operate the Power Station for 30 years.