AUSTRALIAN energy company Origin Energy says it will sign an agreement with the governments of Papua New Guinea and Queensland to support the development of a large hydro-power project.
The 50:50 joint venture between Origin and PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd could ultimately see the hydro-power plant built at Purari River, the country’s third largest waterway located in the Gulf province.
The Australian Associated Press reported in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper on Wednesday that under the plan, electricity from the project would be used to power villages in PNG and would be transmitted to Australia via Weipa to join the national electricity grid at Townsville.
Plans for such a project have been in existence since the 1970s, a company spokesman said, but have now been updated.
The newspaper reported that on Wednesday, a memorandum of co-operation would be signed with the joint venture company, PNG Energy Developments Ltd (PNG EDL) concerning the plans.
“Capturing the power of the existing river flows, the development under consideration would have the capacity to generate approximately 1800MW of renewable baseload electricity,” an Origin spokesperson was quoted as saying.
PNG EDL is currently evaluating the hydro-electric potential of Purari at Wabo, in Gulf .
“By itself, the run-off from the Wabo delta is about equal to one quarter of the run-off from all Australia’s waterways, and PNG’s highlands receive eight to 11 inches of rainfall each year,” the spokesman said.
“If the project is completed, it would supply into Queensland about five times more renewable power than currently generated in the state.”
Origin chief executive Grant King said in a statement that the ongoing assessment of the project was consistent with his company’s pursuit of renewable energy opportunities.