Minister Basil adamant to build Coal-fired Power Plant in PNG

Papua New Guinea planning Minister Sam Basil is adamant to build coal-fired power plant in the country's industrial city of Lae.  Mr Basil released the following statement via social media


Australia uses 70% Coal while Indonesia uses 60% coal in their energy mixes this makes their electricity costs cheaper for downstream processing and industrial needs.

I suggest we peg our carbon emissions to Australia’s total coal emission at 10% convert to MW coal fired power stations in PNG.

This will keep our neighbour in check while we also can access to cheap energy to drive our economy forward.

Too much raw resources been exported so far we need cheap energy to keep and process to provide jobs and value added products for export.

My statement few months ago -

Coal makes up 70% of Australia’s energy mix (over 25,000 MW) and NSW energy minister a couple of months ago approved a 1400MW coal power plant upgrade and extension at Mt Piper (more than 2 times PNG's total electricity generation). Australia exports over 250 million tonnes of coal per year.

Coal makes up 68% of Indonesia's total energy mix and burns more than 88 million tonnes of coal a year (for 18,000MW of coal fired power) with another 17,000MW of coal fired power under construction right now. Indonesia also exports circa 400 million tonnes per year. Indonesia have an additional 39 coal-fired plants under construction and 68 more announced.

Here we are sitting between the two nations that are heavily dependent on coal energy to drive their industries and downstream activities. We are debating about whether we should use an insignificant amount of 300,000 tonnes of coal per year initially for 50MW while we are importing heavy fuel oil and diesel for power generation killing our industry and manufacturing selling energy for US$0.30 cents kWh - some of the most expensive power in the world with one of the lowest GDP's in the world. Should be now surprise we are where we are.

If we remove coal power from Australia’s mix they will slide back to be a developing country. They enjoy their 1st world status by having cheap and affordable energy. If we remove coal from the Asia Pacific it would bankrupt their economies

China uses over 4 billion tonnes of coal per year and India produces 500 million tonnes and signalled it will double its use to 1 billion tonnes by 2025-26 while japan has signalled between now and 2040 coal will supply 23% of its total energy needs.

I say we peg our emissions to Australia’s total emissions and commit to omit only 10% of what they do, even though we are 33% of Australia's population. We then are free to select all types of energy generation and have the policy to build power plants that correlate in megawatts to that capacity and emission level while ensuring a diversified energy mix that mimics every other nations road map to industrialisation and what the Asia Pacific countries are doing right now (all as Paris signatories).

When it comes to planning for this country's future which is in my remit, we need the building blocks right and we must acknowledge other more advanced and prosperous countries have spent time, money effort and embraced technological advancement to achieve their economic, environmental and social objectives.

By doing that we will hold Australia responsible for their emissions, make cheap available energy under US$0.10c that will revolutionise our downstream heavy industry and manufacturing opportunities and industrialise our country - lets stop trying to find a silver bullet there is none. You need an energy mix of coal, gas, renewables, hydro. Excluding our own coal resources makes no sense. The environment department has already put the proposal of a new coal plant through multiple independent assessments and approved a new technology coal fired power plant.

We urgently need cheap energy, we can't prosper without (no country ever has), it needs to be reliable and diversified (multiple forms) so we are safe guarded against drought and earth quakes which gas and hydro are particularly exposed to. This approach is required now and to begin to bring us on par with our neighbours - we must start now as it will take years to catch up.

However, the announcement got mixed reactions from Papua New Guineans  on social media .

David Ahokare : Minister where did you get your ideas from? Can you be realistic? We have so many fast flowing rivers that are still not utilised for hydro. Our LNG gas too has not being fully utilised for domestic consumption. The amount of sun light that we have can power an entire country if solar energy is fully harnessed. Look at countries have done have harnessed these renewable energy sources case in point Costa Rica and Bhutan.

Peter Bosip :  Minister, Coal is the dirtiest of all energy sources for human use. Coal is the main contributor to the CO2 emissions that accelerate climate change. Coal is also a main environmental polluter. As far as we know, there is NO CLEAN COAL in the world! We are already affected by climate change induced disasters and environmental pollution from industrial activities. Countries like Germany, Britain, and Australia are in the process of phasing out the use of coal as energy source. Whike Australia is saying it will phase out the sue of coal, it on the other end is trying to dump the coal to PNG to pollute us and make a revenue out of us. We DO NOT NEED COAL power plant and coal mining in PNG. Lets stop the talking on energy source that will destroy us as we do not have the technology to mitigate the disasters. Minister, please shelf this idea and promote and utilise all the renewable energy sources that we have abundant here in our beautiful country.

while few others back the idea of the Coal Power

Rebecca Kiage : Full support Minister, time to seriously consider coal in the energy mix and promote Energy Security for PNG beyond 2020!! The NEP that you will be asked to launch very soon list Coal as part of PNGs future energy mix...Skeptics should relax a bit, c'mon technology as advanced and evolved with variants of clean coal technology readily available to harness the full potential of coal.

The minister responded on some of the comments

Samuel H. Basil : Coal will be coming from the gulf province - we have cleaner lower ash and lower sulphur coal compared to what australia uses with better technology
Yes we do have gas and we will use gas as well but we need to have an energy mix like every other south East Asian country who use coal gas and where available hydro all together and it guards against natural disasters such as drought and earthquakes - even Germany and America have coal for more than 20% of their energy needs.
Our own reporters have falsely reported Germany, Europe and America don’t use coal they use over 20,000 mega watts each.

Next : PNG Petroleum and Energy Minister says P’nyang project ‘not ruled out’

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