Solomon Islands’ Nation Building Hydropower Project wins Prestigious Industry Award

The Tina River Hydro project, the nation's first large utility-scale renewable project, has won a prestigious industry award and has been recognized as the Asia Pacific hydro deal of the year by IJ Global.

The awards, which celebrate the best-in-class transactions and organisations in the international infrastructure and energy sectors across the world, have recognised the Project for its unique and innovative financial close achieved in 2019.   The awards recognised the monumental effort over more than a decade of the Solomon Island Government, working closely with the World Bank on studies and then the International Finance Corporation, to put together the now award-winning structured build, own, operate and transfer financial contract.

The deal, worth over $200 million, marks the first large-scale infrastructure project for Solomon Islands to be developed as a public-private partnership (PPP).  International Finance Corporation, (IFC) who played the role of lead transaction adviser to the Solomon Islands government for the project says this pioneering hydropower PPP signals opportunities for future investment. 

“We are pleased to have supported the government of Solomon Islands by structuring a way to bring in the private sector to assist the nation’s major shift to renewable energy from imported diesel. It signals opportunities for investment in Solomon Islands,” said IFC Country Manager for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, Thomas Jacobs. “With the support of Australia, New Zealand and the multi-donor facility, DevCo, this innovative transaction shows how governments and the private sector can work together on landmark infrastructure projects, helping nations provide cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy for their people.”

Just to get to this point on a major renewable energy project during such unprecedented times is no easy feat for a developing country.  The SIG continues to show commitment to the Project and understands the unique role it will play in the post COVID economic recovery for the country with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare saying he recognises the significance of this achievement.

“To have the Project acknowledged by a prestigious global award is a huge deal for our country. It indicates we have a world class project that is on track to deliver extraordinary benefits to our people. Given the unique times we are facing, the benefits of Tina being an already established Project, is its ability to now showcase how renewable energy investments can create more opportunities and help stimulate the economy of our developing nation in a time of crisis.”

The awards are renowned for being fairly judged, relying on a team of independent, senior infrastructure and energy players active across the Asia Pacific region.  Criteria for the judging in this category included innovations in financing, positive impacts (eg. environmental, social, and economic), challenges overcome and innovations in technology. The winners were announced in a digital issue of the magazine released July 13, celebrating market successes that were unable to be recognised properly due to COIVD 19 at the planned awards evening in Singapore.

The complex 15MW dam hydropower facility in a high-cost geography, once commissioned, will dramatically reduce consumer energy costs and the capital Honiara's reliance on diesel. Importantly, the Project will also reduce annual CO2 emissions by the equivalent to 49,500 tonnes.