By DALE LUMA
FOREIGN investments in the energy sector are now targeted towards green energy but Papua New Guinea (PNG)’s institutional structures are not adequate to take advantage of the opportunities, according to the Solar Energy Association of PNG.
President Christian Lohberger said: “PNG was one of the first countries to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change and under our national commitments, we have set a target of the electricity sector being 78 per cent renewable by 2030.
“Currently, we are less than 50 per cent renewable and have a growing LNG industry.
“So we need to develop a pipeline of hydro, solar and eventually wind projects.
“Happily, these are also cheap and (in the case of solar) very fast to build.”
Lohberger said the LNG industry was currently dominant in the PNG energy sector but it was very expensive to buy (or not export) LNG due to the war in Ukraine.
“LNG is also very polluting with huge methane and carbon dioxide emissions that destroy our environment,” he said.
“It is difficult to see LNG competing with solar and other renewables from a price perspective, particularly if a carbon price is adopted.
“Our major trading partners are all adopting carbon prices and this will pressure us to clean up emissions.
“Europe and China already have active carbon prices with the US having a tax credit that effectively works the same way as a carbon price.
“Australia once had a very successful carbon price but it was removed for political reasons.
“Looking forward a few years, the most likely scenario is a grid that is almost entirely powered by solar and wind with hydro for backup on rainy and windless days.
“LNG might be useful for extreme situations a few times a year when demand cannot be met.”
By DALE LUMA