PORT MORESBY, December 4, 2013 - Today the Papua New Guinea Government and development partners supporting the PNG energy sector, kicked off a two day consultative workshop to look at the country’s National Electrification Roll out Plan (NEROP), which aims to increase electricity access to 70 percent of households by 2030.
According to current estimates, between 10 – 12.4 percent of PNG households have access to electricity. As a result, Government has put in place key policy initiatives to develop the energy sector under the 2010 – 2050 Development Strategic Plan (DSP) that will make sure the majority of people in Papua New Guinea access and enjoy the benefits of electricity.
The objective of the Implementing PNG’s Electricity Policy National Stakeholders Consultation Workshop is to facilitate an informed discussion and consensus among Government, development partners, the private sector, and civil society organizations on the principles and pillars upon which the NEROP can be prepared and implemented.
Papua New Prime Minister Peter O’Neill opened the workshop highlighting the importance of having a reliable, affordable and adequate energy supply as essential for laying the foundations for modernization, improved economic growth and service delivery.
At the workshop the Minister for Petroleum and Energy William Duma said, “Papua New Guinea wants to make life better for its citizens. Low access to electricity impedes PNG’s economic and social development. With the goal of lighting up 70 percent of the country’s households by 2030, it will held boost people’s chances in getting better access to education, business, health, water, administrative and financial services,” said Mr. Duma.
The workshop will discuss areas relating to a least cost rollout strategy for the NEROP; finance for the program; getting clarity on the roles and responsibilities of the multiple players in the sector; issues of equity and inclusion - making sure the needs of different groups, including women, the poor and vulnerable are included; environmental and sustainability issues; and, government leadership and ownership.
Government’s effort to improve electricity access and identify the viability of different sustainable energy sources that can be harnessed in PNG is supported by both the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the World Bank.
World Bank Country Country Manager for Papua New Guinea, Laura Bailey, and the ADB Country Director for Papua New Guinea, Marcelo Minc, shared at the workshop what the two Banks are doing in support of PNG’s energy sector.
Through the Energy Sector Development Project, the World Bank is providing expert advice to support the development of national policies on renewable energy and rural electrification. The Bank will also finance studies to help the Government and PNG Power analyse the legal, social and environmental dimensions in the development of the Naoro Brown hydropower project in Central province.
“The World Bank is happy to be supporting an initiative that will offer tangible benefits to the majority of Papua New Guineans - 90 percent of whom live in highly remote and culturally diverse rural areas, cut-off by rugged mountainous terrain. The goal to light up 70 percent of PNG households in the next 15 years will translate into better living conditions for both the rural and urban poor, and well as offer new and exciting opportunities in business, education and the administration of basic services - and the Bank is proud to be associated with this ambition,” said Ms Bailey.
ADB Country Director for PNG, Marcelo Minc echoed a similar sentiment.
“ADB is proud to be supporting the Government on a range of projects in Papua New Guinea such as maximizing and improving the use of hydropower by upgrading and rehabilitating two hydropower plants currently generating electricity for Port Moresby. This should reduce fossil fuel consumption while increasing access to, and the reliability of, the Port Moresby power grid. As a result, many un-served households will be connected to reliable, good quality electricity for the first time,” said Mr Minc.
“Improved power supply will enhance quality of life and encourage low-income families to engage in small-scale income generation activities.”
International experts working in energy and petroleum sector and sustainable development are brought in to share international lessons and best development practices in this area with the PNG Government and workshop participants.
A communique of workshop agreed outcomes and recommendations will be produced at the end of the workshop and announced by Government at a Press Conference on Thursday afternoon.