By EDDIE OSIFELO
GUADALCANAL Province fully supports the Tina River Hydro Project, its premier says.
Francis Sade expressed this during the signing of the formal collaboration agreement between the Ministry of Mines, Energy & Rural Electrification (MMERE) and Solomon Islands Electricity Authority Solomon Power.
The signing allows a 11lkV high voltage (HV) extension and 415V low voltage (LV) distribution network running along the 9km road from Black Post leading up to the Tina community in the Bahomea Region.
The construction of the HV extension and LV distribution network is one of the flagship programs under the Community Benefit Sharing Project (CBSP) and will benefit approximately 141 houses who will now be connected to the Honiara grid.
Sade said they are determined to support the national government project with the $6 million dollars’ TRHDP exemption waiver in 2019.
“I have to admit that this was a difficult choice that my Executive Government had to make, especially when we inherited $20 million plus dollars right in the beginning of our four years long journey.
“We definitely knew that we will face a lot of backlashes for this,” he said.
However, Sade said his Executive has envisioned that the positive benefits of the TRHDP will definitely outweigh the obstacle.
The signing of the agreement outlines what is expected of Solomon Power as the implementing agency responsible for feasibility, designing, construction and commissioning of the HV extension and LV distribution network.
Chairman of Solomon Power David Quan said the Project cost is around $6.7 million and will be in construction for a duration of 111 days for HV extension and LV distribution network excluding service line connections and house wiring.
“Solomon Power is honored to announce that our scope will also include energising a total of 141 house connections by providing wiring connections inside these homes as part of this funding arrangement.
“Once again, this will not only achieve our goal of expanding the electricity grid but it will be a major boost for our local communities and the greater Solomon Islands economy.” he said.
He emphasised this particular project is about bringing the benefits of energy from the larger Tina River Hydro Project to these communities and expanding SP’s network in the Guadalcanal province.
The collaboration agreement signing is a binding document signifying the delivery of grant funding from the Japanese Social Development Fund (JSDF) through the World Bank for Solomon Power to implement the electrification development that will extend the existing network at Black-post to Tina village.
Access to power for the first time in these communities will be truly life changing and now every day essential activities for residents, such as children being able to study for school effectively or women prepare and store produce to sell at the markets, will be made easier.
The Minister of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification (MMERE) Bradley Tovosia, acknowledge development partners for providing the necessary technical support during the strategizing phase of the project.
He also encouraged people living in and around Tina communities to treat Tina Project as an asset.
“My good people from Tina and surrounding communities, count yourself as the most privileged in the country, as this infrastructure will be amongst the first of the many that will come because of the Tina Hydro Project.
“Treat the project as an asset of the community and the constituency,” the minister emphasized.
Work on the transmission line will commence this month with local construction contractor ANN City Power Solution.