By MARK B FLYNN
Infratech Management Consultants
Development Consultants - Managers - Engineers
The Upper Baiune Hydro Power Project - opened on March 2, 2013 - is located near the town of Bulolo on the Baiune River in Morobe province, PNG.
The project is about 110 km from Lae, the provincial capital of Morobe.
|Penstock that delivers water to the Upper Baiune hydro power station.-Picture by MALUM NALU|
A gravel link road of about 6 km connects the project area with the Lae - Bulolo Wau highway at about 16 km away from Bulolo.
The project is a run-of-the-river scheme.
The installed capacity of the project is 9.4 MW (2 units of 4.7 MW).
Infratech Management Consultants Ltd (IMC), a PNG-registered and based professional consulting services firm with offices in Port Moresby and Lae, is proud to have provided the public private partnership consortium developer - consisting of PNG Forest Products, PNG Power Ltd, and Katumani Landowner Group - with professional project management, engineering, and environmental services throughout the tender, construction, and commissioning phases of the project delivered on time and under budget.
The project was financed by Westpac Bank, which required IMC to ensure that the banks “Equator Principles” requirements for funding were implemented and complied with throughout the project construction phase.
IMC prepared monthly and annual environmental compliance reports and presented these reports to the Department of Environment and Conservation, and to Westpac Bank.
IMC provided a team of experts to the project including project manager, resident engineer/chief hydro engineer, two senior hydro engineers, design/ civil engineer, electrical engineer, hydraulic engineer, geotechnical engineer, mechanical engineer, and two environmental consultants.
The project is the first fully-automatic hydro power project built in PNG.
The Upper Baiune Hydro Power Project is also the first hydro power station in PNG fitted out with electrical-mechanical components supplied entirely from China.
All major equipment supplied to the power house were designed, manufactured, and installed to US ATSM standards negotiated by IMC during the tendering phase.
This arrangement led to a seamless engagement with the Chinese suppliers located across China from Chongqing to Hangzhou.
Major equipment supplied by APP of China included control and protection equipment, 6.6kV high voltage switchgears, main power and auxiliary transformers, main turbine inlet valves, turbine runners, turbine governor and controls, excitation system, generator, turbine needle valves and Inlet pipeworks, and powerhouse crane.
IMC personnel oversaw the design of the electro-mechanical equipment and witnessed the factory bench testing of all major items of equipment before the equipment was shipped from the factory to ensure compliance with the ATSM standards.
The run-of-the-river project consists of a gross head of 41m, a design flow 2.9 cubic metres per second delivered from a 17m wide, 3mhigh weir, with associated intake and settling basin structures designed to 1:500 year flood event standard.
The water from the settling basin collection chamber is delivered to the head of the penstock via a 1,907m GRP Class 6 headrace pipe buried to 2.5 metres to avoid damage by landslip.
This is a first in PNG.
A 33m high, 3.5m diametre concrete walled surge tank was installed at the upstream end of the 1.1m diameter 2,198m- long steel penstock pipe to eliminate water hammer and air from the system.
The main civil contract works including the headworks, headrace, surge tank, penstock and power house were construction managed by China Railway Construction Group Ltd, with main civil works construction undertaken by PNG company AGI Ltd.
All concrete was manufactured to specification from two concrete batch plants established at the headworks and surge tank sites.
A concrete testing laboratory was established on site.
The concrete aggregate was won from local borrow pits and batch design was conducted on site. All concrete tests conducted passed, including independent testing.
The steel penstock was manufactured in China to ATSM standard and was supplied with factory coating internally and externally.
The pipes were joined using state of the art ‘argon gas’ welding techniques (another first for PNG) overseen by the British Institute of Welding representative engaged by the contractor.
All welds, both factory and field, were X-rayed and 10% ultrasonic tested with all welds passing.
The steel penstock pipe was hydrostatically tested to 1.4 times working pressure and the bifurcation was tested to 1.5 times working pressure in the factory before installation.
Over 75% of the project was undertaken by local companies.
This is an example where international and national companies from different ethnic, political, cultural, and language, backgrounds joined in a spirit of cooperation under IMC’s management to successfully deliver the project with no major disputes and no significant delays.
IMC take this opportunity to thank the stakeholders for the faith and trust placed in the construction and consulting team to deliver this international standard project timely and under budget.
The principal of the developer stated in August 2012, nearing the end of the construction phase, that the construction phase had exceeded his expectations.
This is recognition enough for a job well done.