Republic of Vanuatu PM breaks ground at 400-kW Brenwe Hydropower Plant

Brenwe small hydro

Earlier this month, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu broke ground at the 400-kW Brenwe Hydropower Plant (BHP) site to officially commence construction.

Prime Minister Bob Loughman was joined by Minister for Climate Change Bruno Leignkon and other representatives from the government, including delegates from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management and the Malampa Provincial Government.

The run-of-river BHP, situated in northwest Malekula, forms part of the broader Vanuatu Energy Access Project (VEAP), a key initiative in the government’s commitment to clean energy.

“We’ve been working closely with the Vanuatu Project Management Unit (VPMU) and contractor consortium MAP/Vortex to deliver the engineering and procurement construction of the BHP,” said Andrew Bird, Asia Pacific hydropower and dam leader at Stantec. “Even the challenges of Covid-19 couldn’t stop our New Zealand-based team from getting the project ready for this groundbreaking day.

“Hydropower delivers a long-term solution to the energy issues facing many Pacific Island communities. Projects like this provide communities with a clean reliable source of energy by removing their costly reliance on diesel fuel.”

Only 33% of the citizens of Vanuatu have access to power. Once complete, the BHP will increase the residential customer base in Malekula by 90%. It’ll also displace an estimated 90% of the diesel energy used as a power source for the island.

Working with local consultant Noreve Vanuatu for on-ground delivery, Stantec will continue as design supervision consultant for the project and provide construction monitoring, contract administration and safeguards support to the VPMU.

The government of Vanuatu and its development partners are committed to clean energy and providing residents across the region with access to energy. The VEAP is funded by the government and Asian Development Bank to support development of least-cost renewable energy and grid extensions.

Stantec has nearly 100 years of hydropower and dams experience around the world. In the region, the team’s project experience includes the 44-MW Nadarivatu Hydropower Station on the Island of Viti Levu, Fiji; delivering the concept design for the Warragamba Dam Raise outside of Sydney, Australia; providing reference design for the Somerset Dam Improvement Project outside of Brisbane, Australia; and the support of multiple projects in Samoa.

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