The Cham Islands gained access to the national power grid on September 3 (Photo: VNA)

Quang Nam (VNA) - The Cham Islands, 18km off the coast of Hoi An city, gained access to the national power grid on September 3, after a one year construction project to install a 15.5km sub-marine cable system at a total cost of 485 billion VN D (22.7 million USD ).

Chairman of the islands’ People’s Committee, Nguyen Van An, told Vietnam News that the project is crucial for the islands’ future development.

The Electricity of Vietnam (EVN)’s Central Power Corporation officially switched on the islands’ power with the national grid on September 3, providing 24-hour power for over 2,400 people live in the four villages on the islands.

“It’s a great milestone for the island people. We were eager to have power for years, hoping for a bright future. The islands have been designated a biological tourism complex, featuring different environmentally friendly initiatives, since 2009,” An said.

The sub-marine cable project was 85 percent funded by the State budget. It includes nearly 30km of lines over the islands and six transmission stations. It is expected to boost socioeconomic development and national security and defence of Vietnam’s islands and seas.

About 98 percent of the province’s 1.4 million residents already have access to power. Cham is the newest remote area of the province to connect to the national power grid.

Chairman and General Director of the Central Power Corporation Tran Dinh Nhan said the system will provide power to local islanders 24 hours a day and limit emissions from diesel-driven generators on the area.

He said islanders used power from diesel generators seven hours a day, while renewable energy sources fall short of demand.

In 2010, a solar power station with a 28KW capacity was built on the island. But it only supplied power to 100 households in Bai Huong Commune. The solar power station received funds from SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) but it was unreliable due to lack of sufficient sunlight.

Wind power is also an option. But turbines are only able to power single households with a limited supply of electricity.

In 2013, the islands were given access to fresh water for the first time when an 80,000 cubic metre reservoir was built.

The Islands’ chairman said environmentally friendly technology solutions - such as wind power and solar energy - remain a top priority.

Recognised as a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2009, Cham Islands welcome around 100,000 tourists annually, 10 percent of whom are foreigners.-VNA