Haiti sees progress in electricity plant and Iron Market

An electricity plant and a rebuilt Iron Market were among the new investments unveiled this week in Haiti.

BY JACQUELINE CHARLES
JCHARLES@MIAMIHERALD.COM

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Haiti inaugurated a new 30-megawatt $59.5 million electricity plant Thursday, increasing access to electricity for residents and industries.

E-Power is an investment by 54 Haitian and Haitian-Americans who six years ago proposed to a then-interim Haitian government the construction of a power plant to sell electricity to the state in order to increase access for the population.

The plant, built to withstand a 7.2-magnitude earthquake and category 4 hurricane, is located in Cite Soleil, a slum near the main airport. It will meet 15 percent of the capital’s energy demands. The state’s current capacity is 85 megawatts.

The facility — whose investors also include South Korea’s East-West Power company — is state-of-the-art with a dedicated power-supply line into the capital’s main industrial park, where factories currently rely on generators. Construction took 18 months.

The group has signed a 15-year agreement with state-owned Electricite d’Haiti to purchase power, saving the government between $24 million and $36 million a year, said Daniel-Gerard Rouzier, the visionary behind the project.

“Today is an extraordinary day for Haiti,” he said. “We need more investments and much less aid.”

The plant is the latest investment announced this week as Haiti commemorated the one-year anniversary of the tragic Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people.

Tuesday, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who co-chairs the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, helped inaugurate the opening of a rebuilt Iron Market, a famous commercial hub that was destroyed by the quake in downtown Port-au-Prince.

He also welcomed one of South Korea’s largest manufacturers, Sae-a. The company will be the anchor tenant in a new industrial park being built in northern Haiti outside of Cap-Haitien.

Sae-a plans to invest about $80 million, which will create about 20,000 jobs.

The investment allows fabrics to be made in Haiti because it will include a fabric mill. Among its U.S. customers are Gap and Wal-Mart.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/01/13/2015400/a-positive-current.html#ixzz1EF1i6Mlr

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