Helping to rebuild network
A $1.8m contract with the Government of Nauru was signed to supply equipment and expertise to rehabilitate the Nauru electricity distribution system.
The project was awarded to Infratec following a competitive international tender process, with funding provided by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund programme.
The contract requires the supply and installation of 11kV and 415V overhead lines equipment, switchgear, transformers, customised maintenance vehicles and personal protective equipment over a two year timeframe in order to rebuild the network.
Two senior line mechanics from NETcon in Timaru will be supervising the installation of the equipment and providing training to staff from Nauru Utilities Corporation over a 10 month period.
Infratec’s general manager Luke van Zeller says, “we're excited about the opportunity to help improve the reliability of electricity supply for the people of Nauru and to work directly with the local utility to up-skill their staff to maintain their network safely in accordance with international standards."
Having a robust electricity network is also a key step in enabling Nauru to transition to renewable energy and reduce their reliance on diesel for power generation.
“It is also great to be able to continue providing our staff in Timaru with these types of experiences for their on-going professional and personal development.”
This is Infratec's second international contract, following its partnership in the Bamyan Renewable Energy Project in Afghanistan for the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Nauru is located 50 km south of the Equator in the Pacific Ocean and is one of the smallest, most remote countries in the world. At 21 km2, it is just slightly larger than Waiheke Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, and with a population of around 10,000 it is one of the least populous independent countries. The economy of the country was strongly dependent on mining of its phosphate deposits until these were depleted in the early 2000s.
It now is one of the poorest countries in the world, and it struggles to afford the goods and services to which it had grown accustomed. Almost all of Nauru’s electricity comes from diesel generators, meaning that it is highly vulnerable to sudden increases in the price of oil. Electricity supply reliability has suffered due to limited maintenance and the corrosive effect of high humidity and salt spray on the distribution network, much of which is over 50 years old.