Friday, 29 August 2008 6:08 AM

Papua New Guinea to Improve Power Supply

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Papua New Guinea will draw up a detailed plan to improve power supply in the country where 90% of the population still has no electricity.

The Japan Special Fund, administered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is providing a $1.2 million grant for Papua New Guinea to prepare a power sector development project design that will increase supply of reliable and sustainable power at reasonable cost. The government will contribute another $300,000 to the project.

At present, more than 90% of the population in Papua New Guinea (mostly people in rural areas) has no electricity. In urban centers, the power supply is often unreliable. The government's Medium Term Development Strategy 2005-2010 recognizes energy and power as critical ingredients for development and poverty reduction.

The country is rich in renewable energy resources, with more than 15,000 megawatts of hydropower potential. Coconut-based bio-diesel, geothermal, wind, solar and marine resources are also viable options.

"The challenge is for the country to use its energy resources to move the country toward a more sustainable social and economic development," said Luigi Bodda, ADB's Senior Energy Specialist.

The technical assistance will help Papua New Guinea come up with a detailed plan agreed between the Government and ADB.

The plan will include an updated least-cost power sector development plan, a preliminary design and costing of prioritized core subprojects, financial and economic analysis of the power sector development plan and its core subprojects, environmental and social safeguards due diligence of the core subprojects, climate-proofing analysis, recommendations for power sector governance framework, and public consultations and an awareness campaign.

By SECRETARIAT OF THE PACIFIC COMMUNITY