Wainikasou consists of two turbine and generator sets, controls and switchgear and is connected to the 80MW Wailoa hydro plant located 38km away. The US$5M project is part of SEL’s strategy to install some 100MW of generating capacity from hydro and wind power in Fiji over the next five years.

SEL wants to save around US$5.5M per year in imported diesel costs by exploiting Fiji’s own wind and hydro power resources. It plans to commission another hydro scheme valued at over US$6M at Vaturu, also located on Viti Levu island, at the end of this year and is currently carrying out a feasibility study on the 50MW Sigatoka-Ba hydro power plant.

‘The joint venture has secured a 15 year power purchase agreement with the FEA, which underpins the returns expected for our investment in overseas projects,’ said Rob Grant, Pacific Hydro’s general manager of business development and operations.

‘When fully operational, SEL’s projects will facilitate a sizeable reduction in FEA’s need to import diesel to meet Fiji’s growing energy demand, currently estimated at 5% per year,’ added Grant. ‘With more than 30% of Fiji’s current electricity requirements coming from expensive imported diesel, the programme will more effectively harness the country’s indigenous and renewable energy resources while providing significant environmental and cost benefits to Fiji.’