The Solomon Islands Electricity Access and Renewable Energy Expansion Project (SIEAREEP) (Phase II) (the Project) will comprise the following three components, which are described in more detail in Section 3 – Project Description:
Component 1 – Hybrid mini-grids
Component 2 – Connections to low-income households
Component 3 – Grid-connected solar PV power
The Project will contribute to improved lifestyle and increase shared prosperity for the low income household which is 40 percent of the population. This will provide access of low-income households to electricity in Peri-urban and rural areas of Solomon Islands, and by increasing the generation capacity of renewable energy facilities (solar PV) in the Islands. Provision of infrastructure such as stable supply of grid-based electricity has the potential to promote economic growth, for example, by refrigeration of fish, pumped irrigation, processing of produce, and development of the tourism industry, as well as improving sustainability and affordability through the replacement of diesel generation with more affordable sources of power. It will also contribute to global efforts to mitigate climate change by promoting the use of clean energy technologies, including the use of solar energy solutions in rural areas, to displace the current use of mainly kerosene for lighting.
The Project forms part of a broader initiative of Solomon Islands Electricity Authority (SIEA), trading as Solomon Power, the state-owned enterprise responsible for energy generation and distribution within the Solomon Islands. Solomon Power has recently started to invest in strengthening and expanding its system. To date, the investment program includes installation and commissioning of an additional 10 MW of diesel generator capacity at Lungga Power Station in Honiara in 2016. The investment also includes at least 23 subprojects to expand Honiara grid, installation and commissioning of two outstations solar-diesel hybrid systems in Taro and Seghe in 2017 and development of more than 40 proposed hybrid power generation and mini-grid distribution systems in the next ten year period.
Solomon Power is committed to expand its service both in Honiara, rural areas on Guadalcanal and other outer islands. The initial connection fee is an impediment that cannot be overcome without financial support. Therefore, the Project will assist eligible low income households to connect to the existing electricity grids in Peri-urban areas of Honiara and other provinces. This project will also assist low income households in targeted rural villages, or outstations to be connected to the new micro-grids. The Project will help Solomon Power meet its goal to double the number of customers from 15,500 to 31,000 by 2021 – a goal supported by the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification (MMERE). Table 1 outlines summary of the sites (both new and existing sites) which the project will assist in to connect more than 15000 customers as per the goal indicated.
An Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) is prepared as required under the World Bank’s Operational Policy / Bank Procedure (OP/BP) 4.10 Environmental Assessment safeguard the confirmed and the proposed project sites The purpose of this ESMF is to ensure that all components of the Project meet the environmental and social safeguard policies of the World Bank and laws and regulations of Solomon Islands.
The Project will be supported by grants from the Scaling up of Renewable Energy Program in Low Income Countries (SREP) under the Strategic Climate Fund, the International Development Agency (IDA), SIDS-DOCK an initiative of the Alliance of Small Island States, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and other as yet to be determined funding sources.
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