31 Oct 2008

New Solomons hydro plant curbs fuel reliance

1:39 pm on 31 October 2008

The Solomon Islands Finance Minister, Snyder Rini, says a new hydro-elecricity plant being built near Honiara will cut the country's fuel import bill by a third.

The Solomons is one of many Pacific countries almost totally dependent on diesel for its power generation, but the World Bank hopes to change that.

The Bank's renewable energies advisor Tendai Gregan says the country has significant hydro resources ready to be tapped.

It is funding the construction of the nine-megawatt Honiara hydro plant and Mr Gregan says the gains will be significant.

"It'll have a permanent effect in terms of reducing its reliance on imported diesel, making the country more self-reliant. It will also assist in its budget and balance of payment issues which it's having now which are exacerbated now by the fact that its main export - logs - are going to be running out soon."

Tendai Gregan