Papua New Guinea is to investigate ways of developing its power sector in order to bring electricity services to areas of the country that have no access to power.

Supported by the Asian Development Bank’s Japan Special Fund, Papua New Guinea is to draw up a detailed power sector development plan aimed at increasing power supplies in a sustainable manner. At present, some 90 per cent of the country’s population has no access to electricity.

The Japan Special fund is providing a $1.2 million grant for the study, while the government is to contribute a further $300 000.

“The challenge is for the country to use its energy resources to move the country toward a more sustainable social and economic development,” said Luigi Bodda, ADB’s Senior Energy Specialist.

Papua New Guinea’s Medium Term Development Strategy 2005-2010 recognizes energy and power as critical ingredients for development and poverty reduction. The country is rich in renewable energy resources, with more than 15 000 MW of hydropower potential.

Coconut-based bio-diesel, geothermal, wind, solar and marine resources are also viable options, says ADB.

The power development plan will include an updated least-cost power sector development plan, a preliminary design and costing of prioritized core subprojects, financial and economic analysis, environmental and social safeguards, due diligence, climate-proofing analysis, recommendations for a power sector governance framework, and a public consultations and awareness campaign.