Palau solar project ready to begin

The financing for a $22 million solar and battery energy project – which will provide up to 20 per cent of Palau’s annual energy requirements – has been completed.

The project in Babeldaob will be the largest hybrid solar photovoltaic facility and battery energy storage system of its kind in the Western Pacific. The project will contribute towards Palau’s target of 20% renewable energy by 2025 and reduce its reliance on imported diesel for power generation. The solar power plant is anticipated to deliver up to 23,000 megawatt hours per year to the grid.

The Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific and the government of Australia provided the funding. The AIFFP is an A$2 billion fund managed by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which focuses on high-priority infrastructure in Pacific Island nations, with an emphasis on environmentally and socially sustainable projects.

Information on the project was provided by Allens and Ashurst – the two Sydney-based law firms that advised on the project and its debt financing.

The project is expected to support up to 150 local jobs during peak construction.


Andersen the site of more MilCon

The Caddell-Nan JV was awarded May 10 CHamoru Standard Time a $27,76 million firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of an airfield damage repair storage facility at Andersen Air Force Base, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Defense. The work to be performed provides for a new one-story warehouse facility required to preposition airfield repair equipment and material. The contract also contains one option which will be exercised at time of award.  Work is expected to be completed by November 2023. Fiscal 2022 military construction (Air Force) funds in the amount of $27,761,321 were obligated at time of award. The contract was competitively procured via the website, with two proposals received and was awarded by Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Pacific.

In other news the same day, NAVFAC Pacific announced the award of an $80.41 million firm-fixed price contact for two bulk jet fuel storage tanks and related infrastructure to the Nova Nacap JV on May 5 “for the construction of jet fuel storage tanks at Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal in the Northern Territory.  The contract includes two option items that are being exercised at the time of the award, for which there were three bidders. Work is due to be completed in February 2025.

The Nova Nacap JV was also awarded a $64.6 million award for bulk fuel storage tanks at the Royal Australian Air Force Base in Darwin in the Northern Territory in 2019, with that work due to be completed in June 2023. NAVFAC said the award at Tindal is the second MilCon award there.

Nova Inc. is headquartered in Napa, Calif. and Nacap is an Australian company with offices in the state of Victoria.  


Guam Legislature again supports Taiwan’s attendance at WHO

Members of the 36th Guam Legislature presented a resolution to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Guam on May 10, supporting for the second year Taiwan’s participation in the 75th annual assembly of the World Health Organization, this year to be held from May 22 to 28 in Geneva.

The resolution, sponsored by Sen. Tina Rose Muna Barnes, vice speaker and Sen, Frank Blas Jr., passed unanimously on April 29. In addition to the Vice Speaker, Senators Amanda Shelton, Tony Ada and James Moylan also joined the presentation ceremony at Guam Congress Building.

Paul Chen, director general of TECO said in remarks at the event that direct flights between Taiwan and Guam will resume, according to a May 10 release. In addition, more educational exchanges will be promoted by his office, he said. He said Taiwan will not forget Guam’s support.

The legislative resolution referred to Taiwan’s assistance and donations to Guam’s health system, to include during the pandemic, according to the release.        


Hyatt Hotels prepared for recovery          

Hyatt Hotels Corp. reported May 10 first quarter 2022 financial results. The net loss attributable to Hyatt was $73 million, or $0.67 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2022, compared to a net loss attributable to Hyatt of $304 million, or $2.99 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2021.

Mark S. Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt said, “We are optimally positioned at this stage in the recovery as demonstrated by the momentum in our results this quarter.”

The region of southeast Asia, Greater China, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan and Micronesia Management and Franchising Segment, showed an adjusted Asia Pacific

management and franchising segment EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) of $5 million in the first quarter of 2022 – flat compared to $5 million reported in the first quarter of 2021. Results reflect lower demand from Greater China, while the remainder of the region experienced improving demand and an increase in management fees.

Hyatt has been expanding its portfolio and in the first quarter of 2022, 13 new hotels (or 2,690 rooms) joined Hyatt’s system.


Medical updates:

TakeCare Insurance’s eligible members now have access to services at Guam Radiology Consultants, Guam Medical Imaging Center and Pacific Cardiology Consultants, according to a May 10 release.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center $250,000 for two years to build local 988 capacity. Guam has one Lifeline Call Center which is operated by GBHWC and can be accessed by calling the local ten-digit numbers, 671-647-8833/4.

On July 16, the entire nation, including Guam residents, will be able to simply dial “988” to easily access crisis support services for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress, including thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. The funding from the 988 State and Territory Cooperative Agreements Grant will increase support services for GBHWC’s Crisis Hotline through building workforce capacity and aiding in the implementation of chat/text crisis services.

According to a May 11 release calls to Guam’s Lifeline Center have risen from 25 calls per month at the start of the pandemic to about 500 calls per month.


Your governments at work:

No word yet on whether the $40 billion legislation to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund will make it through the Senate. The bill passed the House on April 7. Congress enacted the grant program in a 2021 pandemic relief package with a $28.6 billion appropriation, but only one-third of qualified applicants received money before funds ran out. According to Journal files, 80 of Guam’s restaurants or hospitality-related establishments received funding and 12 in the Northern Mariana Islands.

Following the completion of Guam’s Teacher Pay Study and Department of Administration recommendations, effective May 23 Guam Department of Education teachers are receiving a 20% increase, principals a 15% additional administrator differential, and assistant principals a 10% differential. All other public-school employees are to be included in the next General Pay Plan Study, according to a release from the Office of the Governor.

The Guam Post Mortem Commission said Dr. Jeffrey S. Nine withdrew from the medical examiner position, citing medical reasons. The Commission will recommence its search for a new medical examiner. In the meantime, “Guam will continue to rely on doctors from Arkansas, Florida, and Hawaii for forensic autopsies and Dr. Aburiziq and Dr. Dauterman for non-forensic autopsies,” according to a May 11 release from the Guam Office of the Attorney General.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration advised the Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority it had successfully completed the required State Management Review audit, according to a May 11 release from the Office of the Governor.  

The FTA’s State Management Review “is a comprehensive oversight review of grantees designed to assess management practices and program implementation to ensure that the programs are administered in accordance with all federal transit law provisions, FTA requirements, and are meeting program objectives,” the release said. 


Tourism update:

The Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands reported 24% average occupancy rate among its 12 member hotels for April, compared to 8% average occupancy in April 2021. A total of 10,406 of 43,810 available room nights sold during April, compared to 2,811 of 34,160 available rooms in April 2021. Average room rates were $139.83 compared to $147.25 last April.

United Airlines has confirmed two additional flights between Guam and Japan in May for a total of nine weekly and an additional two in June for a total of 11. The schedule effective June 3 is below.


DepartTimeArriveTimeDay of the Week
Guam7:00 a.m.Narita9:55 a.m.Mon. / Thurs. / Sat.
Guam12:30 p.m.Narita3:25 p.m.Daily
Guam5:00 p.m.Narita7:55 p.m.Sun.
Narita11:00 a.m.Guam3:55 p.m.Mon. / Thurs. / Sat.
Narita5:00 p.m.Guam9:55 p.m.Daily
Narita9:05 p.m.Guam1:45 a.m. (+1)Sun.

Schedule may be subject to change. (+1) indicates travel on the following day.


For your diary:             

The University of Guam’s Isla Center for the Arts in Dean’s Circle will feature a senior art exhibition for fine arts and art majors at University of Guam from May 12 to June 30. “Convalescence” features more than 70 works of art created by graduating seniors and reflects their time in isolation during the COVID-19 stay-at-home mandate, according to a May 11 release. Admission is free, but donations will be appreciated.

Pacific Islands Club Guam will host the return of Super American Circus from July 1 at its Pacific Pavilion for a “multi-year engagement,” according to a May 12 release. The new program of the circus will feature aerialists, high-flying acrobats, jugglers, aerial ballerinas, clowns and more, the release said. The circus was last in Guam in 2016, according to Journal files.

Bookings will be open “shortly” at www.superamericancircus.commbj