THE newly opened Nadarivatu Hydro-electric scheme will save the Fiji Electricity Authority and the government $42million in fuel importation costs annually.
This was revealed by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama while officiating at the launch of the project yesterday. Commodore Bainimarama said the opening of Fiji's second major hydro scheme would benefit landowners as well, in terms of infrastructure development.
"As part of the agenda to empower Fijians, we must connect Fijians," Commodore Bainimarama said.
"It is only through such connections, we will be able to fully unleash the potential not just for Fiji as a country but for all individual Fijians," he said.
"In our program to connect all Fijians, we must do so without discrimination. When the Monasavu dam was commissioned in 1983, many of the communities in the surrounding areas were ironically and tragically left unconnected.
"The power that was generated by that first dam went right past them. Many have been connected in the past years under this government.
"This anomaly will not be the case in Nadarivatu. All surrounding areas have already been connected. Denying Fijians the electricity generated in their own backyard will no longer be the case."
Commodore Bainimarama said the primary objective of the government was to lift the standard of living for all Fijians.
"This dam will generate 100 million units of electricity a year that will power our progress - extending powerlines to homes in the villages, in the farming areas, in the cities and to businesses everywhere," he said.
Tui Cawanisa Ratu Semisi Ketewai, the traditional chief and landowner, said the project had provided the much needed development to his people in the district of Savatu.
"There are eight villages in the Savatu district and seven of these villages have been supplied with electricity, something we have been dreaming about over decades ago," the 86-year old chief said.
"The dream has finally come true for us and I am fortunate to be a part of this historic occasion," Ratu Semisi said.
FEA chairman Nizam-ud-Dean said Fiji had been relying fairly largely on diesel, which meant expensive fuel had to be imported.
"By having built this power station which is 40 megawatts can generate 100 million units each year and we are able to reduce 20,000 tonnes of fuel each year saving $42 million on fuel cost per year," he said.
It was revealed that the $300million project was funded by the China Development Bank, ANZ Fiji, Bank of the South Pacific Fiji and FEA's internal funds.