By OSEAH PHILEMON
PAPUA New Guinea’s energy demand will increase by 300% over the next five to 10 years – but none of it will be met by the upcoming gas project.
The gas is slated for export to Japan to generate electricity.
This shocking news was revealed to the Lae business community yesterday by PNG Power Limited (PPL) acting chief executive officer, Tony Koiri.
Mr Koiri said the energy demand for PNG was forecast to increase by 50% in two years due to extensive development of commercial, residential, hospitality and industrial infrastructure in major centres.
“This demand is forecast to increase by 67% between five and 10 years as a result of the LNG project and PPL is looking at developing its hydro-power systems to meet the demand.
“We are now working on improving the efficiency of hydro-power plants by implementing a number of measures to meet the growing demand for electricity,” he said.
Diesel generators which PPL is increasingly relying on to provide electricity to power-starved consumers is costing the organisation far too much.
Mr Koiri pointed out that the energy demand forecast on the Ramu system, based on the non-mining sector demand, was expected to increase by 30% in the next five years.
“If mining loads of Ramu nickel, Yanderra, Wafi Golpu were taken into account, then the energy demand based on preliminary load figures would increase by about 300% from current figures,” he said.
PPL has plans to cater for this huge increase in electricity demand with the development of the 240 megawatt Ramu two hydro-electricity project, which it is estimated to cost K1.3 billion.
Mr Koiri said PPL was looking for private sector partners to develop the new system.
“PPL needs to immediately make significant investments in (power) generation, sub-stations and network infrastructure to not only meet the increasing demand, but also improve the reliability and quality of supply,” Mr Koiri said in his presentation.
He said PPL was engaged in major capital investment programmes costing K1.017 billion to upgrade the nation’s electricity supply system from last year until 2013.
It plans to spend K322 million on hydro-generation including Yonki Toe of Dam, Rouna 1 replacement, refurbishment and upgrades to Ramu 1, Paunda and Warangoi and a new hydro-power station at Ramazon in Bougainville.
Another K248 million will be spent on developing the thermal power stations, including new generation for Port Moresby and new power stations for Wewak and Kimbe.
Mr Koiri said K258 million would be spent on transmission, including new sub-stations in Port Moresby and the Hidden Valley gold project transmission line.
Funding for these projects will come from internally generated funds and existing borrowings.
Mr Koiri admitted that PPL had been unable to provide a reliable power service, resulting in it paying rebates to customers since 2005.
The reliability of supply has declined over recent years in most centres and is currently below the benchmarks set by the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC).