19 Jan 2017

First concessional loan approved for Solomons hydro project

6:46 pm on 19 January 2017

Solomon Islands has been awarded a $US15 million concessional loan, for its Tina River Hydro Project, by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD).

Tina River in Solomon Islands.

Tina River in Solomon Islands. Photo: Tina River Hydro Project

The award which was announced during IRENA's 2017 Assembly in Abu Dhabi last weekend is the first to be approved in support of the $US120 million renewable energy project which is the largest for the country and the largest currently being developed in the Pacific.

According to online news service, Solomon Fresh-beat, the 20 megawatt hydro facility will provide access to renewable energy for more than 100,000 people in and around the capital Honiara.

More than 200 new jobs are expected to be created during its construction and once completed it aims to cut the country's CO2 emissions by more than 44,000 tonnes by reducing reliance on diesel-powered electricity generators.

This is also expected to offset all of Solomon Islands determined contribution to reducing climate emissions by 2025.

Downtown Honiara

Downtown Honiara Photo: Koroi Hawkins RNZI

More decisions on concessional finance for the Tina River Hydro Project are expected from the, Green Climate Fund, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Economic Development Cooperation Fund of Korea by the middle of the year.

Solomon Islands is one of four countries, out of 79 applicants, to be awarded loans worth a combined total of $US44.5 million by the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility in its latest round of funding.

The other successful applicants were Niger, Seychelles and the Marshall Islands.

Melanesian countries, excluding Fiji, make up the bulk of the seven million people in the Pacific who cannot access electricity.

Melanesian countries, excluding Fiji, make up the bulk of the seven million people in the Pacific who cannot access electricity. Pictured: Port Moresby. Photo: RNZ/Johnny Blades

In a statement IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin said over the course of the last four years, the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility has been putting in place an innovative process which supports transformational and replicable projects that could potentially bring sustainable energy to millions of people around the world.

The director general of ADFD, Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi said steadfast development in the renewable energy sector was crucial for sustainable continuity, long-term growth and constructive evolution of developing nations.

He said over seven funding cycles, the $US350 million partnership aims to support and enhance the energy needs of developing countries by tapping into their abundant renewable energy sources.

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