Published in the The National on 23 April 2019
BY CLARISSA MOI
The 58-megawatt gas-fired power plant developed by NiuPower for Port Moresby is expected to save PNG Power K100 million annually when it comes online, an official says.
The US$100 million (K341 million) power station is a 50-50 shareholding business venture between the State-owned Kumul Petroleum Holdings Ltd and Oil Search Ltd.
NiuPower chief executive Richard Robinson said they were now in the final testing stages following the commissioning earlier this month. He said it would take about another week to complete the testing before they would be ready for commercial operation.
Robinson said the power station used six high-efficiency reciprocating gas engine generator sets.
“This ensures that we can exactly match whatever load PNG Power Ltd wishes to draw from us and do it very efficiently. The station is fuelled by PNG-produced natural gas. PPL are on record as saying that having the NiuPower power station online saves them, and thus the nation, around K100 million per year.”
He said they were required to demonstrate to PNG Power that the power station would provide the power output and the efficiency they committed to in their agreement.
“This is what we are currently testing and everything is going well. We expect to have the testing complete this week. We will (then) be available to provide whatever power PPL chose to take from us.”
Robinson said it was important to understand that NiouPower was there “to respond to PPL’s requests”.
“They are our customer and the ones who determine which of the power generation options available to the Port Moresby grid are to be used at any given time,” he said.
Oil Search managing director Peter Botten said in the company’s first quarter report released last week that the power station would contribute 100 per cent of the gas supply. He said once operational, the power station should be capable of supplying around 75 per cent of the average load of the Port Moresby electricity grid, “fueled by a cleaner energy source”.