By Margaret Tambagle
A visionary collaboration unfolds at the heart of Buang LLG, Bulolo District, Morobe Province – the 9MW Bapa Hydropower Project, a partnership between contractors AG Energy Ltd, local landowners, and the district. The impact of this venture reached a crescendo on August 18th, as we celebrated the monumental breakthrough of our Phase One achievement: a striking 1200-meter tunnel with a width and height of 3.8meters. Apart from AG Energy’s Managing Director Allan Guo and staff, the event was attended by esteemed guests, with the District Member, Honorable. Sam Basil (Jnr), PPL Chairman Mr. McRonald Nale, Mr. David Wissink, General Manager of Environment and Community Affairs at Wafi Golpu, Mr.Sujan Ghimire, Senior Hydropower and Dam Engineer from SMEC and the notable inclusion of Mr. Justin Parker, a local entrepreneur, gracing the occasion.
Over the past two years, the project team, with a majority of local workers, has been diligently working on the tunnel. Local labor was trained by an international team to handle explosives, lay foundations, and move rock debris. The 1200-meter tunnel is a crucial element for the Dam penstock, The 1200-meter tunnel stands as a beacon of progress, poised to become the conduit for the Dam’s penstock pipes, and the project now looks to move ahead to its next stages.
Spanning across the ancestral lands of the Dando, Baiyun, and Kwasang clans, the project's significance is underscored by Mr. Nalai Iru, the clans' representative, he highlighted the increasing number of projects in Morobe Province and the need for enhanced energy sources. This sentiment resonated with Mr. David Wissink from Wafi Golpu, who spotlighted the imminent demand for 100MW during the mine's construction phase. It is with this backdrop that initiatives like the Bapa Hydropower Project shine as pivotal answers to Morobe's energy needs.
The resounding endorsement from Mr. McRonald Nale, Chairman of PNG Power Limited, underscores the project's worthiness. AG Energy garners praise as an unwavering partner to PNG Power Limited, and is looking forward to continued collaboration in the future.
Bulolo District Member, Hon. Sam Basil (Junior), accentuates the essence of renewable energy, noting the district's contribution of nearly 26MW to bolster the PPL grid. In this light, the Bapa Hydropower Project stands as a testament to progress, enriching the lives of Buang LLG's residents. The district's support becomes a cornerstone for a brighter future.
As the celebration reached its zenith, a mesmerizing demonstration by the drilling and blasting team was staged, a reflection of remarkable expertise. AGE's Managing Director, Mr. Allan Guo, extended gratitude with thoughtful tokens to the three clans and the District. In a heartwarming turn, the District and the clans reciprocated, mirroring the unity that propels this transformative project.
The 1200-meter tunnel stood not just as a marvel but as a testament to unity, witnessed by an assembly of over 200 attendees. With each milestone, the Bapa Hydropower Project surges forward, a beacon of promise that charts a course towards a future of sustainable energy abundance.