Joshua visiting a 48MW solar farm in the Philippines
PNG Biomass is upskilling staff to ensure the biomass power plant and solar farm in the Markham Valley will be constructed and operated using the highest safety standards and best available technology.
Power Plant Engineering Coordinator, Joshua Yaru, recently visited the Philippines to conduct a technical feasibility assessment of a similar style biomass power plant and adjacent solar farm. The aim was to assess the technical, safety and logistical feasibility of the 25MW power plant and 48MW solar farm and take away lessons for the PNG Biomass renewable energy project in the Markham Valley in Morobe Province.
Joshua was invited by EPC contractor Pöyry Energy to tour these facilities in the Philippines. With Pöyry Energy also being the EPC contractor for the PNG Biomass 30MW biomass power plant and 11MWp solar farm in the Markham Valley, the Philippines project’s approximately similar size in generation capacity was an appropriate demonstration project.
The biomass power plant visited by Joshua was in its final days of construction with only 54 man-days remaining in the commissioning phase before the plant goes online to feed renewable energy into the grid.
At the power plant he focused on reviewing the implementation of safe work procedures in executing tasks in and around the power plant. The use of categorised work permits was a useful takeaway.
The work permits at the biomass power plant most commonly used to ensure safety at the workplace were the Hot Work Permit, Cold Work Permit, Confined Space Entry Permit, and Working at Heights Permit. In addition, several special permits are required to conduct specific activities: Extremely hazardous conditions, Radioactive materials, Dangerous chemicals, Excavations, and Power supplies.
At the Solar Farm he visited the operations and control centre, he reviewed day-to-day maintenance procedures, and was shown how monitoring is performed from the console using advanced supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. Joshua learned that SCADA systems are crucial for industrial organisations to help maintain efficiency, process data for smarter decisions, and communicate system issues to help mitigate downtime.
Building a strong relationship with an EPC contractor is an important step in ensuring compliance with requirements for Health, Safety, Environment and Security as well as other important national and international compliance requirements – for instance: protection of customary landowners, labour conditions, gender equality, and child and vulnerable persons’ protection.