By Ezekiel Talatau
THE World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a $19.95 million project for the electricity access and renewable energy expansion for Solomon Islands.
More than 9,300 Solomon Islanders will benefit from new or improved electricity services, including renewable energy sources such as solar.
The project aim to assist the government in terms of increased renewable energy generation, increased access to grid-supplied electricity while dipping the expensive, imported fossil fuels.
The project will also receive a fund through a $5.5million Credit and a $4.75million grant from the International Development Association (IDA).
Solomon Islands Minister of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification Bradley Tovosia stated that, the project is imperative to increase the quality of life of people of Solomon Islands and for the development of business.
Government is now working with World Bank and other partners to increase the access of electricity in low access remote areas.
It will focus on providing connection to health centres, households, schools, and throughout Honiara and surrounding towns and formal settlements.
The project will also focus on addressing gender inequity in the energy sector, which currently employs few woman by providing employment opportunities for rural woman to maintain solar panel and sites.
The project will sustenain Solomon power to build a reproductive and respectful workplace and culture through strengthening anti-bullying and harassment policy and supporting employers who may be affected by domestic violence.
Director from the World Bank Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands Country Michel Kerf quantified that Solomon Islands Electricity is among the highest in the world. Almost as double the average for the Pacific region as a whole, creating a financial affliction on families and business throughout the country.
To date, about 20 percent of the Solomon Islands population have access to an electrical power supply, and when electricity is available, it is costly.