Work on the Tina River Hydropower Project in Solomon Islands is said to be progressing well despite the country’s war against COVID-19 community transmission.
Deputy Project Manager, Mr. Fred Conning says there is no formal notification yet calling for an extension for the project work.
The Tina River Hydropower Development Project (TRHDP) aims to reduce the cost of electricity in Solomon Islands as electricity costs in the country are said to be among the highest in the world, placing a huge strain on businesses and individuals.
Approved by the World Bank in 2017, the project also paves the way for the country to exceed its 2025 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.
While there are concerns the project might face challenges because of the dire situation Solomon Islands is in now, the Deputy Project Manager remains optimistic, thanks to pre-planning and the establishment of a COVID Safe Management Plan.
“While the situation is not ideal, it will be manageable thanks to months of meticulous planning and preparation”, Mr. Conning said in a statement issued by TRHDP.
Mr. Conning said adhering to the government health advice in conjunction with the project’s COVID Management plans would be the way forward for the project.
“We have planned for this day eventuating and thankfully, we are prepared”.
Work on the hydropower project is carried out by private contractor Tina Hydro Limited (THL).
The company was expected to develop, finance, construct and operate the Hydro power facility with an installed capacity of 15 MW, located on the Tina river, 20km southeast of Honiara.
The TRHDP is the first large utility-scale renewable energy project in Solomon Islands. The Solomon Islands government plus six different financiers have been involved at different levels of the investment.
The financiers are Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), The World Bank, The Government of Australia, Green Climate Fund (GCF), Korea-EX-IM Economic Development Cooperation Fund and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Work on the project is divided into four components. They are namely Hydro power facility, road access, transmission line and technical assistance.
With less than three years to go, the contractors are still to construct a 71.5m dam, a 3.3km long headrace tunnel to connect the dam to the power house, a powerhouse equipped with 3 turbine generator units, each with a capacity of 5MW, a dual 66kv transmission lines, construction of permanent and temporary access roads to the powerhouse, dam, intake portal, dam base, mini-hydro quarries and Black Post reserve amounting to a total of 21.5km.
“There might be some delays but officially we have not heard anything yet from the contracted company”, Mr. Conning said.
“At the moment the project is on track to achieve its commercial operation date”, Mr. Conning adds.
The project is expected to be completed by December 2025.