PNG Biomass aims to improve the well-being of Papua New Guineans by developing an integrated renewable power project with a power station powered by sustainable tree plantations, with the active involvement of local landholders, to provide a long-term sustainable source of safe and reliable biomass power in harmony with communities and the environment. The project will contribute to energy independence for PNG, create opportunities for future generations, and drive sustainable economic growth by providing a source renewable and reliable power.
PNG Biomass aligns with the development priorities of the PNG Government. Access to electricity remains one of the country’s most significant development challenges. With less than 15% of PNG’s population connected to a power grid, many people do not have access to reliable power capable of supporting their everyday needs. Those who are connected to one of the three main PNG power grids pay one of the highest electricity prices in the world. The PNG Government is therefore seeking solutions that will substantially improve the population’s access to electricity and that will result in a reduction in its cost.
Through its Medium Term Development Plan, PNG is targeting a major electrification program that will see more than 55% of households having access to power by 2025, with biomass power contributing up to 42 MW of the generation mix. The long-term objective is to increase power access to 70% of the consumer base by 2030. To make this happen, the country requires domestic power solutions that are scalable, sustainable and deliver competitively priced energy.
PNG Biomass’ renewable energy project will establish Papua New Guinea’s first biomass steam cycle plant and demonstrate the country’s commitment to expanding access to power and implementing renewable energy targets.
PNG Biomass is committed to operating a safe and sustainable project and has conducted environmental, social, and economic impact assessments and developed associated management plans. The residual impacts predicted to occur after the successful implementation of management and mitigation measures are assessed to be negligible, low or, at worst, moderate.
There is considerable community support for PNG Biomass as landowners recognise the long-term benefits the project will bring to their clans, communities, and villages. Land rentals and intercropping are already injecting cash into communities. With the project’s substantial employment and business opportunities the next phase of the project is awaited with great anticipation.
To help maintain the close and constructive relationship with the communities in the Markham Valley, a Community Grievance Mechanism has been implemented to enable affected people and communities to raise any issues or complaints in relation to the project.
Oil Search has committed PNG Biomass to operate in accordance with the Equator Principles and certification under the Forest Stewardship Council’s National Forest Management Standards for Papua New Guinea as well as the Gold Standard for the Global Goals.