MANILA, PHILIPPINES (4 July 2017) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today approved the second phase of financial support amounting to $76 million to address lack of access to affordable, clean, and reliable power in provincial centers in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

“Lack of access to power is limiting economic growth in provincial centers,” said Woo Yul Lee, Energy Specialist at ADB’s Pacific Regional Department. “The program will improve the reliability and quality of power supply to stimulate economic growth, and replace diesel generation, thereby reducing costs and creating incentives to improve access rates.”

In PNG, grid-connected power is still largely restricted to the main urban areas. By the end of 2015, approximately 12% of the overall population had access to electricity. PNG has significant underutilized indigenous renewable energy sources, particularly hydropower and solar, for which the generation costs of energy are considerably lower than that of diesel. The majority of provincial centers are supplied entirely through diesel generation, resulting in high generation costs but still with a low quality of power supply.

The program, which is part of ADB’s $120 million multitranche financing facility for the Town Electrification Investment Program approved in November 2010, will be supporting the development of least-cost renewable energy sources. It will rehabilitate Yonki Toe of Dam and Warangoi hydropower plants, which are currently operating below their full capacities. Once refurbished, the plants’ economic life will be extended by another 20 to 25 years.

Another key part of the program is the construction of the Ramazon run-of-river small hydropower plant with a preliminary capacity of 3 MW. The program will adopt measures to lessen the potential negative impacts of extreme weather events throughout the project life cycle.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.

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