The Asian Development Bank (ADB) yesterday signed with the Solomon Islands grant and loan agreements to help the Government boost energy access and renewable energy generation in Auki, the capital of Malaita province.
Signing the assistance package—which includes a $6 million loan and $6 million grant—was ADB Vice-President Lakshmi Venkatachalam and Solomon Islands Minister of Finance and Treasury Rick Houenipwela.
They also signed a project agreement along with Martin Sam, Deputy General Manager of the Solomon Islands Electricity Authority (SIEA).
The project will assist SIEA in installing hydropower generation to replace diesel generation in the third-largest load center in Solomon Islands, and extend the distribution grid to peri-urban households.
The Solomon Islands Provincial Renewable Energy Project to be implemented by the SIEA, will construct the Fiu River Hydropower Plant near Auki, and extend the existing power grid to new households.
SIEA staff will also be trained in the operation of hydropower plants.
“The Fiu River Hydropower Plant will almost completely displace diesel generation in Auki,” said Ms. Venkatachalam.
“In achieving this, the project will deliver more reliable and cleaner power to Auki and at the same time boost the local economy.”
One innovative aspect is that the project will train newly connected households on options for electricity based income generation, electricity safety, and household budget management.
National government through SIEA is contributing $3 million equivalent.