Tina River Hydropower project company and the Ministry of Finance & Treasury, Solomon Islands, have signed commercial agreements related to the construction of the Tina River Hydropower Project.

Agreements related to funding support were also signed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which confirmed a commitment of $30m to the project.

With the funding support, ADB joins the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the Australian Government (DFAT), Green Climate Fund and the Korea-EX-IM Economic Development Cooperation Fund, all of whom, alongside World Bank Group, have all committed to supporting this key nation-building project in Solomon Islands.

Solomon Islands has a near-total reliance on expensive diesel petrol for electricity generation

Solomon Islands, which is almost completely reliant on expensive diesel fuel for electricity generation, has one of the highest costs of electricity generation in the world, standing at $0.82 (£0.67)/kW. The cost is almost double the average for Pacific Island countries, putting a heavy burden on families, communities, businesses and government services. Only 16% of the country’s people have access to the electricity grid.

The hydropower project is expected to reduce the cost of electricity for Solomon Islanders as well as the greenhouse gas emissions. The project is expected to shift Honiara’s grid from 3% of renewable energy in 2017 to 68% renewable energy, when the project is commissioned in 2024.

Construction on the Tina River Hydropower Project is expected to begin early next year.

Solomon Islands Minister for Finance & Treasury Harry Kuma and officials from K-water and Hyundai Engineering Company, a major shareholder in Tina Hydropower, along with representatives from the World Bank and its sister organisation, the IFC, and the Asian Development Bank signed the agreements.

Kuma said: “Tina River Hydro is a project rooted in our history and with branches that will grow into our future. The signing of these agreements today will further enhance the Public Private Partnership that the Solomon Islands government is adapting for the financing of the Tina River Hydro Project; the first such arrangement for infrastructure in the Solomon Islands.”

World Bank country director for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands Michel Kerf said: “For over 10 years, we have been supporting Solomon Islands to address one of its key development challenges – a near total reliance on diesel fuel for power. From detailed environmental and feasibility assessments, to supporting the Solomon Islands build momentum and funding support for this major nation-building project, we’re proud to have been a vital partner along this journey.

“In addition to our $20m investment in solar power and increasing electricity access across the country, we’re proud that when it is up and running, Tina River Hydropower will help Solomon Islanders access cheaper, greener power that will provide massive benefits for education, health and daily life.”