THE $15 million hydro project in Somosomo Taveuni is expected to improve the lives of residents along the Wairiki-Welagi corridor on the island.
Officiating at the project's groundbreaking ceremony Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama said the project would generate 700 kilowatts of power for homes and business houses in the Wairiki and Welagi areas.
Rear Admiral (Ret) Bainimarama said Somosomo would literally be the electric powerhouse for a large part of Taveuni.
He assured people on the island that projects as such would grow to benefit the communities on the island.
"In the 2007 census, 85 per cent of Fijians had some form of access to electricity, seven years on my government has extended that to 95 per cent and we will try to make such projects accessible to all Fijians," he said.
"We are also in the process of establishing power sources that are affordable and sustainable and so we are in the process of replacing existing diesel generators in many places that rely on fossil fuel.
"Today is a milestone for many reasons as the project will improve the many lives on the island with an environment friendly power system."
Rear Admiral (Ret) Bainimarama added yesterday's event was also a milestone because it re-strengthened Fiji's relationship with the people of China.
"China has always been a fan for Fiji, but in recent years it has proved to be a great friend standing by our side in challenging times supporting our right to choose our own path."
Meanwhile, also speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Chinese Ambassador Huang Yong said he was glad the Chinese Government had been given the opportunity to fund the hydro project.
"The project will bring prosperity to the local people and as the island is a tourist destination it will further boost tourism on the island."