K650m PNG hydropower project opens after 15 years – end to blackouts?

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The Chinese-funded Edevu Hydropower Station
The Chinese-funded Edevu Hydropower Project near Port Moresby . . . a partnership with the traditional landowners. Image: PNG Post-Courier

By Maxine Kamus in Port Moresby

Port Moresby’s power blackouts may now be over.

After 15 years, Papua New Guinea’s national government and its Chinese partner, PNG Hydro Development Ltd, formally launched the Edevu Hydropower Project located along the Brown River area outside Port Moresby.

PNG Hydro has invested K650 million (NZ$302 million) in the project which is one of Central Province’s biggest assets that will supply electricity not only to Port Moresby but the whole Southern region in the near future.

The government has partnered with the developer with K120 million (NZ$56 million) for a 132KV transmission line from Edevu to Port Moresby which is already under construction, on top of the K650 million spent by the company.

PNG Hydro Development Ltd managing director Allan Guo said it took them almost 15 years to reach the launch of the project and this was possible through the good relationship and discussions they had with the landowners of Edevu.

He said it was a private investment without any guarantee from the government because they believed that their investment would greatly have an impact on the lives of the people and country as a whole.

Prime Minister James Marape (pictured in inset above) thanked the developer for having trust in PNG and privately funding the project.

‘Wonderful reflection’
Marape said it was a “wonderful reflection of an investor”, who saw this opportunity thousands of kilometres away, and had faith in PNG.

He said what Edevu landowners had done, by going into partnership with a foreign investor, was a good example for traditional landowners in the rest of the country.

“You have shown a wonderful example to other landowners right across our country.

“You [landowners] own 97 percent of land rights. My government, as governments of past, and any government into the future, will not break that right you have. It is your inherent, God-given right to your land.

“But land sitting idle is of no use to us, or more importantly, our children and their children that will come into the future,” Marape said.

The Sirinumu Dam and its Rouna 1, 2 and 3 stations are the main suppliers of electricity to Port Moresby and surrounding areas.

However, years of neglect and usage has led to much of the equipment becoming worn out, resulting in constant blackouts in Port Moresby.

Also a growing population places a huge demand on power uses which results in overloading.

The PNG Power Limited has also raised concern in the past about illegal power connections.

Maxine Kamus is a PNG Post-Courier Reporter. Republished with permission.

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