Purari Hydropower Project

Papua New Guinea

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PNG Energy Developments Limited (PNG EDL), a 50/50 joint venture of the PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) and Origin Energy Ltd of Australia, evaluated the potential development of a renewable hydropower project on the Purari River in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The renewable hydropower project was being investigated within the Purari River catchment in Gulf Province, PNG, approximately 350 kms NW of Port
Moresby. If proven feasible, the project could provide electricity for local and industrial purposes in PNG. It could also deliver electricity to Australia by an undersea transmission cable.

A consortium led by AECOM, comprising Electricité de France, Environmental Resources Management Australia Pty Ltd and Entura (Hydro Electric Corporation of  Tasmania), was engaged by PNG EDL, to undertake the project feasibility studies and social and environmental impact assessments for the proposed hydropower development.

Investigations confirmed that a hydropower scheme on the Purari River with a generating capacity in excess of 2,000 Megawatts (MW) is technically feasible. The feasibility study included investigating a number of potential dam locations within the Purari River catchments and the accompanying electrical
transmission infrastructure to deliver the electricity to PNG and into the Queensland grid.

The proposed hydropower scheme involves the development of a power station and associated transmission lines and cables. Options for the transport of power from the power station included an overhead transmission line to the PNG Coast, undersea transmission cables to Daru and across the Torres Strait to the Australian coast at Cape York, Queensland, and an overland transmission line down Cape York to connect to the Australian grid, near Townsville. If constructed, the undersea section of cable would be one of the longest High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) undersea cables ever built.

Our Approach

An integrated management approach with close co-ordination between the engineering, environmental and social impact assessment teams was adopted for all studies. This ensured the engineering design and operating aspects were developed with consideration of critical social and environmental factors.  This approach enabled mitigation of social and environmental impacts identified during the studies through scheme selection and design where possible and the subsequent development of management plans to minimise impacts where unavoidable.

Value add 

  • Our leadership team had a comprehensive understanding of the client and JV partners health and safety requirements and values as well as a strong under understanding of challenges associated with remote work considerations.
  • A global, integrated team was established, incorporating four organisations spread over six global locations, with the use of local sub-consultant experience in PNG, ensuring the best technical expertise for the project and client.