The Solomon Islands Government is now preparing to engage with Korean Water (K-Water) for the development of the Tina River Hydropower Project (TRHDP) in Central Guadalcanal.
K-Water was engaged after an international tender process conducted by the International Finance Corporation, IFC, ended at the beginning of 2015.
Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare was updated on Monday this week about the turnout of the bids for this significant project by a five member delegation comprising International Financial Corporation officials, Shobana Venkataraman and Deveshta Ratnanayagam, World Bank Country Director, Anne Tully, Tina Hydro Project Manager, Mark France and his deputy, Fred Conning.
Ms Venkataraman said following the selection of K-Water, IFC and the Project officials met with K-Water in Seoul in August 2015 to gauge its interest in continuing with the project.
She said the meeting was very positive and was a useful introduction of the Project team to K-Water.
Ms Venkataraman said K-Water is one of the largest global players in water and hydro-electric power generation having hydro schemes in Korea itself and other countries including Pakistan and Cambodia and that it is now quite actively looking at the Pacific and the Tina Project may provide them with this opportunity.
Mr France said they had agreed with K-Water on a process to go through and a timeline for the project.
He said if negotiations with the company can produce a tariff that is comparable to that expected from competitive processes they will proceed to signing up the Power Purchase Agreement by September/ October this year with Financial close in May 2016.
“If the contract is signed within the anticipated timeframe, we would get K-Water on the ground doing construction on the dam in the early stages of the dry season next year which will be in May,” he added.
Mr France said TRHDP is looking at holding a workshop shortly with officials from Ministry of Finance & Treasury, Ministry of Mines and Energy, SIEA and Attorney General’s Chamber to fully understand the different project agreements before signing them.
Prime Minister Sogavare in response thanked the joint WB, IFC and TRHDP team for updating him on the progress of the project and expressed anticipation to see project get off the ground.
“I am very pleased to hear about all the positive developments in this project and I look forward to seeing it off the ground.”
The Prime Minister agreed with a proposal by the TRHDP Manager for the TRHDP officials to brief caucus on the latest developments.