Over 1,500MW needed in next decade: Minister

Over 1,500 megawatts of electricity is needed in the next 10 years to supply households and industries in PNG.

This demand will come off the back of the PNG Government’s rural electrification program and upcoming major resource projects and industries.

Minister for Energy, Sam Basil, said this at the 3rd Petroleum and Energy Summit in Port Moresby.

Minister Basil said currently there are 600+ megawatts of electricity in use, excluding standalone generators.

He said studies show that another 300 megawatts is needed to ensure sufficient power is generated to meet the 70 percent electricity access to households by 2030.

Emerging major projects like the Wafi-Golpu, Frieda and Yandera, and connection to Ramu Nickel, point to an additional 600+ megawatts of power.

“Therefore we are talking about a total of 1500-plus megawatts of electricity to power household and industries in PNG within the next 10 years.

“This need requires a holistic and coordinated approach in the energy sector to address generation, transmission, distribution and even retailing of electricity.

“As minister responsible, I recognise and acknowledge the various stakeholders, public sectors, state owned enterprises and the private sector, who must be involved,” said Basil.

The National Energy Policy of 2017 to 2020 spells out the Government’s plans to meet the electricity demands in the country via various energy sources.

Basil said with the $1.8 billion National Electricity Roll Out Program (NEROP) supported by the US, Australia, Japan and New Zealand, which targets over 300 megawatts, they needed investors to look into other energy power sources.

“I am also concerned about the 300 megawatt required fro NEROP. PNG needs strategic investors to help meet this shortfall.

“I am also concerned that the two main grids in PNG, the Port Moresby grid and the Ramu Grid, are literally divided by the Owen Stanley Range. On top of that we have many isolated islands that require standalone systems for their own power generation, transmission and retail arrangement.

“This is where the importance of other energy sources such as solar wind, bio-mass, biogas, geothermal, clean coal, and ocean current, plus others, and investment required to realise them is very much needed.

“There are also a lot f research and studies conducted in these sources of energy to deliver power to these remote locations. PNG welcomes investments to take them to development stages.”

Basil said PNG has vast energy resources that dwarf the 1,500 megawatt required in the total at the present time. But immediately there is electricity need for 600+ mw for the industries.

He said the Domestic Market Obligation policy will greatly enhance domestic utilisation.

Cedric Patjole