Feature: Chinese company lights up hope for Surinamese villages in Amazon rainforest

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 12, 2024
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PARAMARIBO, April 12 (Xinhua) -- Nestled deep within the embrace of the Amazon rainforest lies Botopasi village, right in the heart of Suriname. Getting there from the capital city of Paramaribo takes five and a half hours -- two and a half hours by car and another three by boat along the Suriname River.

Besides the underdeveloped transportation infrastructure, villagers in the region are also unable to connect to the national electricity grid, thus lacking a continuous power supply for long periods of time. The diesel fuel provided by the government only generates a five-hour electricity supply per day.

The absence of electricity and other inconveniences have compelled many Botopasi villagers to relocate to the capital in recent years, resulting in a decline in the village's population.

In 2019, Suriname's Ministry of Natural Resources signed an agreement with Power Construction Corporation of China (Power China), hoping to jointly solve the electricity problem for villagers in this area.

After studying more than 10 villages, Xiong Zekun, Project Manager of Power China of Surinam Villages Micro-grid Solar Project, and his team presented a plan to build photovoltaic stations and install transmission lines in each village, forming a microgrid in each region.

Following the approval of the plan by the Surinamese government, Power China began construction. Six months later, it delivered the first phase of the project, the Goejaba microgrid, in June 2020.

The successful operation of the first phase of the project has prompted the government of Suriname to authorize Power China to build microgrids in more villages. In October 2021, the second phase of the project was officially launched.

The village of Botopasi, where the camp for the second phase of Power China's project is located, is one of the nine villages set to benefit from the second of five complexes. Once completed, these complexes will provide uninterrupted clean energy to more than 3,000 residents.

Born and raised in the village of Botopasi, Harry Wens Potter has been assisting the Power China team since the beginning of the second phase, coordinating with local residents. "I work hard because when there is uninterrupted electricity at home, we can store food in the refrigerator and have better meals. We will have a better future," Potter told Xinhua.

After delivering the first phase of the project to the government for operation, Power China encountered many difficulties due to the lack of professional local technicians. In response, Power China has decided to operate the second phase for three years after its completion. During this period, China will assist local governments in training their own operation and maintenance personnel, aiming to enhance the project's long-term viability.

Xiong recalled the night when the first phase of the project was inaugurated. "After turning on the lights and leaving the station, I passed by a house and saw a child studying under a lit lamp. This scene made me feel that all the efforts for this project were worth it," he said. Enditem

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