The Coal Industry in Papua New Guinea

Lae Power Plant

The PNG Government never put out a public tender for a coal-fired power station in Lae; however, Mayur submitted a proposal for a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to the state-owned PNG Power in March 2016.

Mayur calls the proposed power station an ‘Environmental Energy Park,’ with the (entirely dubious) justification that although 80% of the power would be from coal, 20% would be supplied by biomass.

Although the power station has received environmental approvals from the Conservation and Environmental Protection Authority (CEPA), PNG Power has yet to approve the PPA. 

According to Mayur, the power station would serve the Ramu grid’s alleged energy needs, which serves the coastal cities of Lae, Madang, and much of the PNG highlands.

Currently, around 90% of the Ramu grid’s energy comes from hydropower, mostly from a hydropower station on the nearby Ramu River. A second, even larger hydropower station, has been approved for construction also on the Ramu River. A biomass facility, run on renewable forestry plantation materials, has also been approved for this grid.

Jubilee and CELCOR’s report has found that given these and other projects, the Ramu grid is not in need of the coal-fired power station. There are also social and environmental concerns with the proposed coal power plant in Lae.

Image above: Illustrative photo of a coal fire power station

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