Energy Fiji Sets THE Record Straight On Monasavu Claims

The following is Energy Fiji Limited chief executive officer Hasmukh Patel’s response to The Fiji Times on the Wainisavulevu Weir at Monasavu saga.   I am writing on behalf of
13 Aug 2018 13:39
Energy Fiji Sets THE Record Straight On Monasavu Claims
Benefits of hydro-power is being discussed extensively.

The following is Energy Fiji Limited chief executive officer Hasmukh Patel’s response to The Fiji Times on the Wainisavulevu Weir at Monasavu saga.


I am writing on behalf of the over 700 men and women employed by Energy Fiji Limited, and our tens of thousands of Fijian shareholders, in response to the slate of misleading coverage from The Fiji Times in relation to the raising of the Wainisavulevu Weir to increase the capacity of Fiji’s largest and most productive renewable energy system, the Monasavu Hydroelectric Scheme.

We’ve corrected the record on the height of the weir that was raised back in 2015. That distance was eight metres. But that is not at the heart of our issue with The Fiji Times where they have demonstrated a deliberate and dangerous willingness to undermine public confidence in EFL’s important effort to move Fiji away from dirty, polluting diesel fuel and towards clean and renewable sources of energy.

In this spirit of open and honest communication, we ask that The Fiji Times do away with the unfounded sensationalist coverage, especially when it comes to the protection of Fiji’s natural environment and the health of the Fijian economy.

The fact of the matter is that the burning of fossil fuels is the single greatest contributing factor to global warming and climate change, and investment in renewable energy is our greatest tool in averting climate catastrophe for Fiji, and all of planet Earth. This includes green infrastructure investments that tap Fiji’s geographic advantages through solar energy, biomass energy, and especially hydropower generation.

Over the past ten years alone, hydropower generation in Fiji has generated 4.67 billion Units of Electricity. That has avoided the use of nearly 1.154 billion litres of diesel fuel, meaning our work has off-set over 3 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions since 2008. Those are some big numbers, so to put that into perspective, that same amount of diesel fuel could fill the tanks of around 15 million Ford Ranger trucks.

That is the total environmental cost that hydropower generation in Fiji has already avoided over the past decade, and our achievement so far has put Fiji on the path to generate 99 per cent of our energy from renewable sources by 2030.

At EFL, powering Fijian lives and livelihoods is our core mission. As a responsible part of our energy mix, hydropower has given the Fijian people access to the most affordable electricity in all of the Pacific.

Hydroelectricity in Fiji powers homes, hospitals, businesses, schools and entire communities, bringing life-changing benefits to Fijians in every corner of the country at rates Fijians and Fijian businesses can afford.

These aren’t my personal opinions; the immense benefits of hydropower are a globally-recognised reality. In 2016, global hydropower generation marked the largest contribution from a renewable energy source ever recorded.

Highly developed nations like Canada and New Zealand produce more than half of their nation’s electricity from hydropower. In Norway, electricity generated from hydropower alone makes up 95 per cent of national energy production.

In developing these critical projects, there are calculated short-term costs that none of us are happy must be made. In the case of the raising of the Wainisavulevu weir, the landowners were fully compensated for the use of their land and resources as per a private commercial arrangement with EFL.

The creation of a reservoir was necessary to hold the stores of water that will be used to create affordable electricity to power the nation.

These changes were planned, they were necessary, and they were accepted by EFL, independent agencies, and the landowners as a small cost that was greatly outweighed by the economic and environmental benefits. Because we all recognised, then and now, that continued reliance on diesel fuel, as opposed to renewable energy, will bring about the destruction of the natural environment on a global scale.

So yes, EFL will build more dams, and yes, we will produce a higher share of our electricity with clean hydropower.

Through hydro, we will continue to eliminate Fiji’s reliance on dirty, environmentally-harmful diesel fuel. Through hydro, we will continue to ensure that the price of electricity is kept as affordable as possible for Fijian families.

Through hydro, Fiji’s affordable energy will continue to fuel our nation’s economic activity, and attract job-creating development from overseas. Through hydro, and other renewable energy sources, we will secure an energy-independent future for Fiji.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa





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