Solomons Tina Hydro Project to start in 2016
Construction of Solomon Islands US $120 million Hydro project to begin in 2016.
A major Solomon Islands hydro project is in the final phase of preparation, with construction set to start in March next year.
The manager of the 120 million US dollar Tina Hydro project on Guadalcanal, Mark France, says two consortia have been shortlisted to develop their bids for the project in June.
The Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, has expressed his support after meeting project executives, pledging contributions to the multi-lateral donor funding for the project.
Mr France told Koroi Hawkins that the new government's commitment is key to having the powerplant completed in 2018.
MARK FRANCE: So the current status is that we have completed a feasibility study. We have a technically and commercially feasible project concept. We have, final stages of finalising the wording but we've done a an environmental and social impact assessment. We have selected, with the assistance of the International Finance Coorporation, who are the government's advisors on the tender process, we have shortlisted, prequalified two consortia, to prepare proposals for the project. Bids are due in June this year. And we are in the latter stages of completing acquisition of the customary land needed to build the dam and powerhouse on.
KOROI HAWKINS: And that final process will allow for actual construction phase to start?
MF: Yes, and so we anticipate that we will get bids by June of this year. It will probably take two months or so to complete contracts with the successful tenderer. And then to finalise the borrowing etc that, that developer will need to do, much of which is with multi-national or multi-lateral like Asian Development Bank and IFC etc will probably take through till April, May of next year. So we expect the actual construction on the ground of the project to start in about 15 months time I guess. And it should take two and a half years to finish.
KH: And this is a massive project for Solomon Islands especially the capital Honiara. What kind of support will it be able to provide to the grid?
MF: It's capacity will be greater than the maximum demand within Honiara right at the moment. So at any particular time it will be able to provide all of Honiara's demand. We have limited period of hydrological record, so we are working on the assumption that during the dry season in Solomons it may not provide all of Honiara's needs, Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. We expect that it will provide probably a bit more than, about two thirds of the demand in Honiara for about 12 hours each day so it can help to meet most of the, the daytime loads and then we'd have to refill the reservoir overnight. So overall it's likely to reduce the dependance upon diesel generation, diesel fuel by 80-85 percent of the current diesl bill that the Solomon Islands Electricity Authority faces. So it is quite a significant move towards indigenous renewable energy generation.
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