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Agreement calls for construction of four plants

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, August 27, 2009) – A local independent power production company has signed a multi-million-dollar agreement to produce electricity for the national grid from waste and rubbish.

The power purchase agreement was signed yesterday with the Fiji Electricity Authority, and was expected to generate savings of around FJ$17million [US$8.6 million] for FEA in diesel costs per year. Iviti Renewable Disenergy Power Plant Company (IRD) was expected to generate 10 megawatts of electricity or 87 million units every year from rubbish.

The company, which formerly operated as Yavala and Company until its name change in 2005, was expected to build four powerplants, in Sigatoka, Naboro, Lautoka and Labasa, at a cost of F$100million [US$50.5 million]. Plant operations are expected to begin in September 2011.

Fiji Electricity Authority's acting chief executive officer Sunil DeSilva confirmed the agreement would help the authority achieve its renewable energy target of 90 per cent generation through renewable energy by 2011.

"The agreement means that another independent power producer, IRD, is funding its own capital and build power stations at their own cost connected to our network to supply electricity to all customers in Fiji," he said. "FEA doesn't have to meet the capital expenditure to produce the amount of power capacity which is 10 mega watts. If we do not have these power stations, FEA will have to spend $17million on diesel to produce electricity."

[PIR editor’s note: The island of Oahu in Hawaii has operated a trash-fueled power plant – HPOWER – since 1990 and has greatly reduced the volume of trash going to landfills while saving some ten million barrels of imported oil.]

Mr. DeSilva said not only was the project cost-effective but it was expected to help reduce greenhouse emissions as it replaced diesel fuel.

IRD chairman Ratu Enesi Yavala said the project received funding offshore from the First Premier Trust Bank in Canada.

He said the first power plant was expected to be constructed on Cuvu Top in Sigatoka in December while the other three plants would be set up at Naboro, Vunato rubbish dump in Lautoka and Labasa.

"The construction will provide direct employment to about 400 people and providing 1000 opportunities indirectly," he said.

"The rubbish and waste will be heated at high temperature where gasses are extracted. The steam will go into a steam generator which is then transmitted to an electrical generator to produce electricity.

"This is one way of also contributing to the safekeeping of the environment."

"We have confidence in the economy and this would bring in foreign investment. This is the safest and cleanest power plant in the world."

He said there were over 150 such plants constructed in other parts of the world.

Yesterday the Turaga Na Ka Levu Ratu Sakiusa Makutu was not aware of the project. He was travelling to Suva today to meet with the Native Land Trust Board to discuss the issue.

NLTB general manager Alipate Qetaki is expected to comment on the issue today.

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