High Commissioner HE Jon Philp joined the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) Minister for Technical Services, the Hon Joseph Kim Suwamaru, to announce Australia’s support to upgrade the PNG Power Ltd (PPL) electricity grids in Bougainville.
The PGK50 million (AUD19 million) upgrades will support work to improve, restructure and transition grids in Buka and Arawa to renewable energy.
The High Commissioner announced the new project from the PPL power station site in Buka.
“The upgrades are designed to connect businesses and communities to reliable, affordable and renewable electricity, as well as providing long-term capacity solutions and reducing operating costs” said Mr Philp.
These critical upgrades to the Buka and Arawa grids will connect people in neighbouring areas to more reliable electricity.
In the short term, Australia will provide urgent upgrades valued at approximately PGK9.6 million (AUD3.7 million). This will include the hire of temporary diesel generators to immediately improve electricity capacity.
In the longer term, Australia will provide new diesel generators, as well as explore options for renewable and low emission technology such as battery energy storage systems to meet the region’s electricity needs. Hybrid diesel and renewable power will make power cheaper and greener, with benefits for the economy and environment.
“Electricity powers local businesses and improves many facets of people’s everyday lives, such as access to health care, education, food security and gender equality,” said Mr Philp.
“Australia is committed to supporting Bougainville’s economic prosperity by identifying ways to stabilise and improve its electricity grid.”
The upgrades are part of Australia’s commitments under the Papua New Guinea Electrification Partnership. Through the Partnership, PNG, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the United States are working together to help PNG meet its goal of connecting 70 per cent of the country to electricity by 2030.