The USD$15 million dollars Fiu River mini-hydro Power project in Malaita Province has been canceled due to land dispute issues over the development.

The project’s major funder, Asian Development bank (ADB) Unit Head, Solomon Islands Pacific Country Office, Elmar Elbling told Public Accounts Hearing today.

“This project, unfortunately, has to be canceled because it’s been in the pipeline for a long time. ADB has been pushing for the implementation for this project for a long time, but due to land issues and disputes we have to cancel the project.”

He said land dispute issues​ in the Solomon Islands are always a hurdle to development.

“Land issues have been set back to development in the country. Not only for ADB but also other development Partners. Land issues should be dealt with in order to allow development in the country.”

The Fiu River Hydro Power project is worth at US$15m which is funded by the ADB and partly the Solomon Islands Government.

It is expected to deliver 500kW initially with an additional 250kW capability in the future.

The project should have been completed and delivered in November 2018.

The Fiu River mini-hydro project is aimed at providing a reliable and sustainable supply of electricity in Malaita province to assist economic growth and increase the capacity to support greater access to electricity for local residents, businesses, and industry. 

The project will also assist Solomon Islands Electricity Authority (SIEA) to install hydropower generation to replace diesel generation in the third-largest load center in the country and extend the distribution grid to peri-urban households.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been supporting the rural Solomon Islands under the Provincial Renewable Energy Project.

By Charley Piringi

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