Australian High Commission
Papua New Guinea

Connecting households to solar electricity in Aitape and Arawa

In Canberra on 16 February, Australian High Commissioner, Jon Philp, joined Minister for State Enterprises, the Honourable William Duma MP to announce new solar investments that will increase access to renewable electricity in Aitape, West Sepik, and in Arawa, Bougainville.  

The Aitape and Arawa investments are part of Australia’s support for critical upgrades to several provincial mini-grids owned by PNG Power Ltd to the value of PGK50 million.

The upgrades will introduce customised renewable hybrid solutions, such as solar photovoltaic arrays and battery energy storage systems integrated to new efficient generation units. By reducing reliance on diesel fuel, the upgrades are set to reduce carbon emissions by 2,830 tonnes in the first year alone, as well as reducing the cost of operations.

“Thousands of households and businesses will gain access to more reliable, stable and sustainable electricity through upgrades to the provincial grids,” said Mr Philp.

“Australia is committed to working with PNG to increase its solar infrastructure and support the transition to renewable energy, starting with these projects in Aitape and Arawa.”

PNG delegation including Minister for State Enterprises, William Duma (front row; third from left) and Kumul Consolidated Holdings Managing Director, Prof David Kavanamur (fifth from right) visit to Majura solar farm.

Minister Duma and Mr Philp observed the application of innovative technology at a Solar Farm during their visit to Australia as part of the Government of PNG delegation participating in the 29th Australia-Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum.

“Investing in PNG’s energy sector will support PNG’s overall development,” said Minister Duma. “Sustainable energy developments like these improve the livelihood and wellbeing of our citizens.”

The provincial grid improvements in Aitape and Arawa are part of a broader suite of Australian support under the PNG Electrification Partnership. Through the Partnership, PNG, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the United States are working together to help PNG meet its goal of connecting 70% of the country to electricity by 2030.

PNG and Australia’s energy cooperation also extends to investments through the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP). This includes the Laitim Hauslain investment which is supporting PNG Power Ltd to connect up to 200,000 people in Morobe and East New Britain to the electricity grid for the first time, including households, schools and health clinics. AIFFP continues to explore ways to support other future renewable energy projects in PNG, including to increase solar infrastructure.

For further information, including access to related materials, please contact the Australian High Commission media team: +675 7090 0100