PNG Power Limited and the Milne Bay Provincial Government have entered into a historic partnership which sees the provincial authority funding a 0.8 Megawatts hybrid solar farm for its Alotau township.
The signing of the Agreement took place at the PNG Power National Office in Port Moresby between the PNG Power Ltd, Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Obed Batia, The Milne Bay Governor, Hon. Gordon Wesley, the Milne Bay Provincial Administration and the Contractor, Glory Investments Ltd on Tuesday 3rd October 2023.
Governor Wesley was pleased to have Milne Bay being chosen as the pioneer for the hybrid solar power project.
“My province will be in need of more power supply due to major developments taking place. For all the development plans I have, I would need an additional 4 MW. Currently Alotau only has a load of 1.8 MW on average and up to 3 MW during peak hours.
These new developments include a planned housing estate at Gehua, a waterfront super mall, expansion of the Hagita and Saint Barnabas Nursing College and an industrial hub at Ahioma. We will need more power here on and I am pleased to partner with PNG Power, to give me that additional reliable and stable power supply for my province in the months to come,’ he said.
Hon. Wesley also highlighted the efforts by the Provincial Administration on Climate Change and Green Energy, of which this Solar PV project does justification to this drive.
Mr. Batia commended the Alotau Provincial Government, through the Governor for the exemplary leadership and making MBPG the first province to fund a renewable energy generation facility purely to support the development of the province without pushing for any commercial returns.
“This is a flagship partnership to improve power supply and support the development of a province.
Under this arrangement, a hybrid solar farm will be built in the province to support the current power generation from the Alotau Power Station. Once completed, Alotau town will have two power generation sources,” he said.
“The Solar PV system will run to support the diesel during the day, battery for a couple of hours during the evening and then during off-peak hours at night, while PPL can use one or two of its generating units to keep the lights on till day break,” said Mr. Batia said.
He said the partnership is highly valued, as there is no commercial arrangement between the parties, rather, an effort to make sure there is stable, reliable power supply to the growing demand of the province.
“We are driving a similar arrangement with our other small stand-alone centers in Vanimo and Wewak, Buka, Arawa, and also in Daru, with the support of partners including grant funded Solar PV projects by the Australian Government.”
Mr. Batia thanked the contractor, Glory Investment Ltd, who have demonstrated capability from delivering PNG Power’s pilot Solar PV and Bess Project on Samarai Island during the COVID-19 period. The CEO further expressed gratitude to the contractor who had initiated the discussions with the provincial government and the governor to secure the grant funding for the project.
The project will take six (6) months from commencement to the Test and Commissioning of the Alotau Solar Power Project.