The Chief Executive Officer of PNG Power Limited (PPL) says, that the government power company received an unsolicited proposal from Australian company, Mayur to build coal fired power plants in Lae and other centers but is approaching the proposal with caution amidst environmental concerns.
Bais said signing any agreement for coal-fired power stations would put Papua New Guinea in violation of international agreements including the Kyoto Protocol and the recent Paris Agreement.
“PNG Power is not venturing into any coal fired power station. We have a proposal from Mayur Resource Development and they have basically provided an unsolicited proposal. We, PNG Power, did not invite them to come in.
“We are conscious of the fact that there are agreements in place with regards to renewable energy and carbon emissions. The PNG Government is party to those agreements…”
Mayur’s proposal presents an option to build a 50-megwatt power station it says will drastically improve electricity output in major centers at a cost that is cheaper than PPL’s existing diesel power stations.
Papua New Guinea continues to present a fragmented front in terms of coal development. While PPL has made its stand clear, Mayur’s drilling explorations in the Gulf Province have been underway since 2015 with the blessing of another arm of government – the Mineral Resources Authority. The National Government has also committed K10 million for research into coal development just as Pacific Island leaders call for the reduction of coal use in Australia.
In April, Papua New Guinea’s High Commissioner to Australia, Charles Lepani, told Tom Inggulden of ABC’s AM program that Australia needed to cut back on coal use.
“The consequences of coal for instance, coal mining affects us, will affect us tremendously going forward,” Lepani said.
In Lae City, a proposed site is the Lae Wharf. This week, a meeting between Mayur and PPL, sparked outrage on Twitter with anti-coal campaigner, Nogat Coal, asking if there are better alternatives that can be pursued.
The Morobe Governor, Kelly Naru, meanwhile, says the provincial government has not agreed to anything and that it was pursuing an independent investigation to determine if a coal fired power station is needed in Lae.