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ADB approves financing for Tina River project in Solomon Islands

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced on 26 September that it had approved a US$ 18 million loan and a US$ 12 million grant to help the Solomon Islands, an archipelago in the South Pacific, reduce its reliance on imported fossil fuels for power generation through the development of the Tina River hydropower project.

The 15 MW project on the island of Guadalcanal is the first large-scale infrastructure project to be developed as a public-private partnership in the Solomon Islands, and is designed to help lower electricity prices by reducing dependence on expensive diesel generation through an increase in the share of renewable energy, while helping the country to meet its climate change mitigation targets.

The project, which will cost US$ 240.5 million comprising US$ 185.66 million for the hydropower plant, US$ 25 million for the access roads, US$ 22.8 million for the transmission lines and US$ 7 million in technical assistance, is also being financed by the World Bank Group, the Economic Development Cooperation Fund of Korea, the Green Climate Fund, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Arab Economic Development and the Australian Government through the Australia Pacific Islands Partnership. The balance will be covered by the Government of the Solomon Islands.

The Tina River hydropower plant on the river Tina, 20 km southeast of the capital Honiara, will comprise a 72 m-high RCC dam that will impound a reservoir with a capacity of 7 x 106 m3, a waterway including a 3.3 km-long headrace tunnel, surge shaft and a surface-type steel penstock to convey water from the dam to the powerhouse that will house three 5 MW Francis turbines. It will include an extra bay for future installation of a possible fourth 5 MW turbine. The project will be developed on a build-operate-own-transfer basis by Tina Hydropower Limited (THL), a project company comprising South Korea’s state water utility Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water) and Hyundai Engineering Corporation (HEC) under agreements signed in December 2018 (see H&D Issue 1, 2019).  Power will be sold to Solomon Power under a 34-year Power Purchase Agreement.