Source: The National, Monday,  March 4, 2013 
Story and picture by MALUM NALU

ELECTRICITY generation in Papua New Guinea has entered a new dimension with the opening of PNG Forest Products’ (PNGFP) K100 million Upper Baiune hydro electricity power station in Bulolo, Morobe, on Saturday.
Visitors touring the new hydro power plant on Saturday.

It was opened by Forests Minister Patrick Pruaitch and was named Katu Vavini Power Station after the principal landowner, who passed away last December.
A major undertaking for PNGFP, the power plant is the first of such projects in PNG built by a private organisation as a commercial venture to supply electricity to PNG Power.
It was funded by Westpac.
The new power plant has an installed capacity of 9.4MW.
The project is  built on customary land, which has been sub-leased by the Katumani integrated land group (ILG) landowners to PNGFP and therefore, the Katumani landowners are also important partners in the project.
This venture also conforms to the PNG government’s public private partnership (PPP) policy concerning infrastructure development.
PNGFP managing director Tony Honey said this was the oldest surviving power station in PNG since the Morobe gold rush days in the 1930s.
This is the first time that a private organisation will supply electricity to PNG Power, he said.
Commissioned on Dec 23, 2012, it is now supplying electricity to PNG Power’s Ramu grid.
“The Upper Baiune Hydro power project was first conceived in late 2006 when PNGFP became interested in supplying additional power to PNG Power,” Honey said.
“It was obvious that a good potential for further hydro power development existed immediately above the existing Upper Baiune intake as there is a 270m fall in the river over a straight line distance of only two kilometres.
“PNGFP engaged the services of Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC) to conduct a  feasibility study to confirm the potential for further hydro power development and we then subsequently negotiated a power purchase agreement with PNG Power.
“With a commitment from PNG Power that they would purchase the power that would become available if the project was viable, we were able to proceed with a full feasibility study which was conducted by SMEC.
“During the feasibility study it became apparent the project would be viable, so we immediately proceeded with an environmental impact assessment and applied to Department of Environment and Conservation for the necessary environmental permits for the construction and operation of the new power station.
“On completion of the feasibility study, we moved into the design phase with SMEC preparing the tender documentation for construction.
“We then advertised for tenders in both PNG and overseas and the tenders were evaluated by Infratech Management Consultants (IMC)."
Contracts for the civil work were awarded to China Railway Construction Group, contract for the electro-mechanical installation was awarded to Asia Pacific Power-Tech (APP) and IMC was appointed as the project manager and resident engineer.