ELECTRICITY can be accessed by remote schools and health centres in rural Papua New Guinea with the introduction of the world’s first small hydro-power generation system.
The 2x2x2 metre hydro-power system can be installed in small streams, rivers and even at sea to convert running water and waves into electricity that can generate one to 10kilowatts of power.
A 5kilowatt system costs around US$50,000 (K136,986) , has a 20-year life-span when installed in a running stream, can generate enough electricity to light up 30 houses.
Ministers and Members of Parliament were impressed with a presentation at the State Function Room by Japanese government-sanctioned Seabell International Corporation managing director Nobuchika Ihara.
Part of the company’s long-term plan is to build a plant in PNG for creation of employment and also to supply smaller Pacific Island countries and neighbouring Asian region with electricity
Mr Ihara, who was on his way to Abu Dhabi, stopped over at the invitation his friend Dr William Tongamp from Western Highlands province who is a post doctoral researcher with the faculty of engineering at the Akita University in Japan.
He said hydro-power had a long history with dam building and destruction of the environment, but the small hydro-system is easy to install and easy to maintain.
The presentation of the system was an initiative of Education Minister and Tari-Pori MP James Marape.
Mr Marape said Dr Tongamp brought Mr Nobuchika to his village in Western Highlands last year and was stunned that his mother was still living in a hut without electricity.
Mr Ihara then made a commitment to bring the hydro-system to PNG first before the rest of the world.
“Japan is a country that has 100% access to power while PNG’s 80% population lives in the dark. Schools and health centres in remote areas needed reliable electricity to run.
“Thousands of kina are spent on fuel alone every year while for the rest of the remote rural Papua New Guinea, electricity is still a dream.
“We went out looking for a technology that will meet our electricity needs and we have found one that is relevant, applicable, environmentally friendly that will complement the Government’s rural
electrification policy,” Mr Marape said.
“As Education Minister, I am excited about this new technology that can provide power 24-hours for our children to have access to library, the internet and the world.
“The technology can power schools in the Trobriand Islands, Mussau in New Ireland province, Wuwulu Islands using sea waves and Telefomin, Lumi and remote areas in the Highlands region that are still in the dark,” he said.
Goroka MP Thompson Harokaqveh was so impressed that he was the first to publicly announce his intention to buy one for his electorate.
Guests that attended the presentation included Transport, Works and Civil Aviation Minister Don Polye, Police Minister Sani Rambi, Mr Marape, Telefomin MP Peter Iwei, Mr Harokaqveh, North Fly MP Boka Kondra, Kairiku-Hiri MP Paru Aihi, Lagaip-Porgera MP Philip Kikala, senior officers of PNG Power, Independent Private Business Corporation, Telikom, Petromin, ExxonMobil, InterOil and the media.