The Confirmation of Appraisal Mission Discussion on Ramu Transmission System Reinforcement Project between the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Government of Papua New Guinea (GoPNG) and PNG Power Limited has been finalised and is set to kick off.

The main objective of the project is for reinforcement of the 132 kV transmission line between Ramu 1 Hydro Power Station and Taraka substation in Lae through the Erap substation to enhance the power supply reliability and stability of the Ramu grid.

This will reinforce the efficiency of the Ramu grid, which is considered to lead directly to the stabilization of electric power supply and economic development of Lae and also increase opportunities for connecting with reliable and stable electricity in neighbouring communities of the project sites.

The project is urgently needed and timely since there are already serious power instabilities and constraints on local residents and business houses in Lae.

The project was initially agreed to through the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Friday morning between the parties at the PNG Power Board Room.

The MOA was signed by JICAs Chief Representative, Shigeru Sugiyama and CEO, Tony Koiri.

The agreement was signed in the presence of JICA reps and PPL Executive Advisor, Chris Bais and Strategy Infrastructure Planning Manager Francis Uratun.

It is in consistency with current development policy, sector plan, national, regional and development plan and demand of target group.

The Medium Term Development Plan 2011-2015 (MTDP) is a 5-year development plan which provides a clear and accountable plan for investment.

The MTDP for the power sector focuses on increasing access to electricity for all households in the country.

In this regard, the MTDP also mentions the necessity to conduct feasibility study to develop a national grid, which interconnects the major regional grids, and recommends rehabilitation and maintenance work for Rouna, Ramu and Gazelle grid be carried out as the basis for this national connection.

The MTDP mentions Port Moresby Rouna grid will be the first since it is the national capital where much of the energy demands originate and Ramu grid will be the second since it includes the second largest city, Lae.

Mr Bais mentioned that, currently World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are providing their support for Port Moresby Rouna grid however there are no plans of support by development partners to conduct rehabilitation work for Ramu grid other than Japanese ODA Loan Project which was officially requested by GoPNG.

From the discussions, Ramu grid currently is faced with two major problems of reliability and capacity.

Considering future expansions on power demand the scale of the project could be evaluated as moderate.

The technology that will be applied in the project is also judged as adequate since it is based on the existing technology and equipment.

Apart from the project base initiated, JICA is offering Electrical and Technical Training programs suitable for power producing companies like PNG Power in which tradesmen and women are encouraged to broaden their knowledge in the Electrical and Technical field.

Sigiyama said that the Training and the Project will also strengthen ties between Executing Agency PNG Power and JICA on an international level.

The GoPNG has agreed and planned to establish a coordinated implementing structure within GoPNG where PPL will be the Executing Agency of the project and will manage and implement the Project throughout the bidding, contract, monitoring and implementation stages of the Project.

In addition, the GoPNG has planned to set up a “Project Steering Committee” which will be composed of PPL, DoT, DNPM and other related government authorities in order to promote smooth implementation of the Project.