Sunday, December 08, 2013

PNG a nation with huge and diverse energy sources, low access to electricity

Lighting up 70 percent of PNG households by 2030 is challenging, but achievable

World Bank/Asian Development Bank

Deliberations last Thursday at the stakeholder’s consultation workshop on the guiding principles for the Papua New Guinea national plan (NEROP) to electrify 70 percent of households by 2030, and consultations on the electricity industry ‘rules of engagement, under the Third Party Access Code and the Grid Code, ended on a positive note that these can be achieved.

The Third Party Access Code provides the terms and rules for private generators to connect to Power PNG Limited (PPL) transmission systems and sell power to PPL and other customers. The Grid Code specifies a set of technical rules that will govern the connection to, use and operation of the country’s transmission system, and sets performance and safety standards for transmission equipment and operation.

Participants at the consultation workshop unanimously acknowledged that PNG has broad and diverse energy options that if harnessed through the right approach and attitude, and with the right cost and investment structures in place, the goal to light up rural and remote parts of the country that had been in in dark for so long is possible.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, when opening the consultation workshop on the National Electrification Rollout Plan (NEROP) Wednesday, admitted that the country had done very well on the energy sector in the last 40 years, but said it is time to turn things around.

The Government reiterated the importance of encouraging the participation of the private sector in delivering the vitally needed investments to deliver a reliable and high-quality electricity supply to all in PNG.

The workshop’s keynote speaker was Eddy Njoroge, a former Managing Director and CEO of Kenya Electricity Generating Company who oversaw key developments that now result in Kenya providing electricity connectivity from 8 percent in 2003 to 26 percent of its households in less than 10 years.

Sixty percent of households in Kenya have access to electricity, and the country is working to achieve a 100% electricity access rate by 2020.

The attendees and relevant sector institutions present generally voiced strong support on the way forward in respect of the proposed organizing principles to guide the preparation of the NEROP; as well as the proposed scope and detailed design of NEROP’s operational pillars required for implementation.

The attendees also welcomed the introduction of the Third Party Access Code and the Grid Code, which encourage private sector investment in the industry by setting out the rules for connecting to and use of the power grid by new generators and which, together, will bring about greater clarity and transparency for investment decisions by private sector participants and for third parties other than PPL wishing to supply customers.

Several other presentations were made on areas of interest and the kinds of options that can be considered for successfully rolling out the NEROP, including the options for sustainable financing lessons learnt from the 20 year experience of the State Government of Queensland.

Development partners, including the World Bank Group and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are providing support to Government in the areas of policy development, capacity building, and improvement of the necessary generation and transmission infrastructure.

World Bank Director for Sustainable Energy, Vijay Iyer highlighted the importance for the Papua New Guinea people and government to own and drive the program together, adding that development partners like the World Bank Group and ADB stand ready to support national efforts.

Mr. Iyer congratulated the PNG Government for putting in place important policies for energy development and for strongly supporting electricity issues which will have huge development and economic impacts in the areas of education and health, especially for women and children.

He said there is strong evidence to show countries that moved up the energy ladder have improved outcomes in living standards.

ADB Country Director for Papua New Guinea Marcelo Minc said the active participation of attendees at the workshop reflected the high profile the energy sector has in the development of Papua New Guinea’s economy.

“As ADB’s activities in Papua New Guinea scale up, we look forward to expanding our support to the energy sector in close coordination with our development partners,” said Mr Minc.

Mr Minc also highlighted the importance of government ownership of NEROP which will deliver affordable, reliable energy to the people of Papua New Guinea. 

A communique summarising workshop discussions and outline a timeline for immediate next steps for implementing the NEROP, the Third Party Access Code and the Grid Code was released at the end of the three days consultation. It captures discussions and feedback from participants representing PNG’s national and provincial governments, civil society groups, development organizations, private sector, and the industry on key areas for the development and implementation of guiding principles for the NEROP.

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