Eight potential investors who have expressed interest in building and operating the Tina River Hydro Project took part in a major project briefing in Honiara, last week.
The companies participating in the event were from Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Spain and Sri Lanka.
A statement from the project office says the investors’ forum marked the closing of an Expression of Interest, part of the International Competitive Tender (ICT) process seeking Developers for the Tina Hydro Project.
The ICT is a transparent process managed by the International Financial Corporation as Financial Transaction Advisors to the Solomon Islands Government on the Tina Hydro Project.
Welcoming the investors, Minister of Finance and Treasury, Rick Hou says the forum marked a major milestone in the project.
He says they have entered the next phase of the project, one that will see the development of a new partnership, which is between the private and public sector.
Mr Hou adds, this is another area where Tina River is breaking new ground in Solomon Islands.
Over 100 international companies, including global energy companies, registered their interest in the project with eight potential investors travelling to Honiara for the briefing.
Meanwhile, Mr Hou says the involvement of the private sector in an Independent Power Producer (IPP) and Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) basis is a critical element in the realisation of Tina River Hydro.
He says Tina River Hydro is the country’s flagship project – unprecedented in scale, longevity and scope of benefits.
Mr Hou says the implementation of the project will provide a cross-cutting boost to the country’s economy, not only by ensuring reliable grid power to Honiara and Northern Guadalcanal, but by ensuring stable power both in quality and in price.
The Finance Minister adds, by separating power supply in the country from the uncertainties inherent with world oil markets, they are looking forward to the ability to plan the economy on the basis of predictable power costs and predictable foreign currency outflows.
Tina River Hydro Project is supported by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Australia and the European Investment Bank, to build a hydroelectric scheme on the Tina River in Central Guadalcanal.
It is expected to produce between 15 and 20 Megawatts electricity and more than 80 million kilowatt hours of energy every year – more than enough to meet Honiara’s current electricity demand.
The wining bid is expected to be announced in early 2015, and construction of the dam to start in 2016.