China-Nauru cooperation in solar energy, port upgrading benefits local communities

(Xinhua) 16:59, March 27, 2024

A man works at the construction site of redevelopment project of Aiwo Harbor in the Republic of Nauru, Jan. 18, 2024. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)

"I'm looking forward to seeing the projects I have personally participated in contribute more to the economic development of Nauru."

BEIJING, March 27 (Xinhua) -- The Pacific island nation Nauru signed up for the Belt and Road Initiative on Monday.

Since China and Nauru restored diplomatic ties earlier this year, bilateral win-win cooperation has rapidly expanded, yielding beneficial outcomes for local communities.

Nauru, with its beautiful tropical scenery and brilliant sunshine, is endearingly dubbed as a "pearl of the Pacific." In the southwestern part of the island nation, rows of blue photovoltaic panels are neatly arranged close to the azure sea, reflecting the dazzling tropical sunlight.

Once connected to the grid, the photovoltaic power generation and energy storage project being constructed by a Chinese company can meet the electricity demand of the entire island.

The project will reduce Nauru's dependence on diesel, bringing down the costs in electricity generation, improving local power supply and increase the share of renewable energy generation. Most importantly, it will significantly add to Nauru's environmental protection efforts, thereby achieving its sustainable development goals.

"Now Nauru's power generation mainly relies on diesel. That's expensive and would pollute the environment," said John Scott, who has been working for the project since 2022.

"There is a lot of sunshine here and it's good for solar power. I believe electricity supply here will be much better when the project is completed," Scott told Xinhua.

On top of building the power project, China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd is also undertaking the redevelopment of Nauru's largest harbor, Aiwo Harbor.

Starting in 2019, the project to be completed in 2025 includes harbor dredging and the construction of a new wharf, a desalination system and a container yard, among other facilities. And in September 2022, the new wharf was put into operation.

The modern seaport has also brought cutting-edge technologies and job opportunities to the island country, facilitating local economic growth by expanding its connectivity with the rest of the world.

Zhu Wei, the contractor's deputy manager and construction manager of the project, has witnessed the development of Aiwo Harbor over the past five years.

"In the past, the old wharf was too small for container ships to dock directly, and they only came once every two months. Now the containers can dock directly at the new wharf, and they come every month or even every 20 days," Zhu told Xinhua.

As the facilities are gradually taking shape, Zhu is proud of his efforts over the past years. "I'm looking forward to seeing the projects I have personally participated in contribute more to the economic development of Nauru."

The rationale behind Nauru's decision to resume diplomatic ties with China "of course is about Nauru's development strategy," Lionel Aingimea, Nauru's foreign minister, said when visiting China in January.

"No developing country wants to be left behind," he said.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Liang Jun)


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