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European Investment Bank Signs Extension Of Technical Assistance With FEA

European Investment Bank Signs Extension Of Technical Assistance With FEA
The European Investment Bank vice-president, Ambroise Fayolle’s (left) with the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the signing of the extension of assistance at the Fiji Electricity Authority Building in Suva yesterday. Photo: PAULINI RATULAILAI.
November 04
10:41 2016

The European Investment Bank extended its technical assistance programme with the Fiji Electricity Authority yesterday.

The signing was done yesterday as part of EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle’s official visit to Fiji.

Representing Government was the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

The planned Technical Assistance will focus on Viti Levu which was hit hard by the category 5 Cyclone Winston earlier this year and as a result, electricity supply was cut off parts of the island.

The goal of the EIB’s technical assistance is to support the establishment of a Transmission Network Development Plan (TNDP) to expand the electricity supply on Viti Levu.

This would ensure medium-to-long-term evacuation and redundancy of power.

The programme will specifically assess measures that rebuild the transmission sector in a more climate-resilient way, to better withstand possible future natural disasters.

It builds on a Technical Assistance initiative dealing with hydropower development on the Ba River, for which FEA and EIB signed a Cooperation Agreement in June 2015.

Both initiatives will be supported by a regional facility of the European Union named the Investment Facility for the Pacific (IFP).

Work on the TNDP will start with technical and financial/economic analysis of transmission network development alternatives.

This will be followed by the preparation of bidding documents required for international tendering of the first priority actions.

The EIB’s Technical Assistance will provide the necessary legal, technical and administrative support to that effect.

The project is expected to catalyse a significant amount of investments, which could potentially be financed by the EIB alongside other development partners and commercial banks.


Resilient infrastructure

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum stressed part of the assessment of the transmission lines was something they have been talking about for some time.

“That is to also look at climate resilient infrastructure also. A part of that includes potential underground cables,” he said.

“We had instance where it took nearly three months before power was restored in some of the areas after Cyclone Winston.

“That is not acceptable in a modern state but it also goes to demonstrate the impact a single climatic event can have on one’s economy and infrastructure.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said to just build the infrastructure is not enough but we need to build infrastructure which can sustain climatic events.

Mr Fayolle said: “After the Cyclone Winston hit Fiji, enormous efforts were made by the authorities to alleviate the problems this natural calamity caused.

“The local power system was hit very hard and it will need significant investment to reinforce it against similar future disasters.

“Therefore the EIB is glad that it can support such important infrastructure, to the benefits of all citizens.

“The EU Bank has supported Fiji in the past and stands ready to continue this partnership through all the means that it disposes of.”

EU Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific, Andrew Jacobs, said: “I am happy to note the progress Fiji is making in the field of sustainable energy and energy efficiency.”


The visit

Mr Fayolle as part of his visit also met Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum earlier yesterday morning.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum confirmed that during the meeting, they discussed some of the opportunities which exists in Fiji.

Further meetings were held with Mr Jacobs and other foreign dignitaries to discuss further cooperation.

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