Photo credit: Japanese International Cooperation Agency
The Ramu System Transmission Reinforcement Project (RSTRP) in Morobe Province, which is being funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, is nearing completion with 85 to 90 per cent of the project already finished. Ramu grid project manager, Hitler Alseth, revealed that this includes land acquisition, construction of towers, a new Singsing Creek substation, as well as rehabilitation and replacement of existing substations and transmission lines.
During a visit to the province on Wednesday, the Lae PPL Ramu grid project team provided project progress and updates to JICA President Professor Akihiko Tanaka and his delegates at the PNG Power substation at Erap. Alseth explained that under the funding provided, PNG Power Limited was able to re-service PPL substations at Erap, Yonki, Ramu, and Gusap, and also construct a new substation at Singsing Creek.
Alseth added that 90 per cent of the transmission line is complete, and while there is a double circuit line from Singsing Creek substation down to Erap substation and from Erap to Taraka substation, a single circuit will be used. He also stated that "Taraka substation will be serviced this year and the project is ongoing, with 15 months left to fully complete it." The electricity from this grid is supplied to Bayune in Bulolo, including Lae and Singsing Creek to Madang.
JICA’s support in improving electricity, particularly for the Ramu grid, is much appreciated, said PPL board member Leo Meninga. He hopes that when this project is completed, it will address the daily unreliability of power currently experienced. It is worth noting that the Japanese government provided K300 million to PNG Power Limited for the project, which was funded through a loan agreement by JICA and the government of Papua New Guinea.
The project agreement was signed in 2016, with works on the grid beginning in 2017. Out of the K300 million, K30 million is for the construction of a new substation at Singsing Creek while the rest is allocated for transmission and upgrading of Erap and Taraka substations. In a feasibility study conducted by a Japanese company on the existing 132 kV between Ramu Power Station in Madang and Taraka substation in Lae, it was identified to have low electricity supply. Therefore, the project is based on the suggestion to PPL to rehabilitate the existing 132kV to increase transmission capacity.
In Alseth's words, "the project is ongoing, with 15 months left to fully complete it."