According to the Solar Energy Association of Papua New Guinea (SEAP), there needs to be an increased focus on renewable energy projects. The association says that currently, foreign investors are targeting green energy, but PNG’s institutional structures aren’t doing enough. Renewable projects have numerous advantages, and these opportunities need to be embraced.

President of SEAP Christain Lohberger said, “PNG was one of the first countries to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change and under our national commitments, we have set a target of the electricity sector being 78 per cent renewable by 2030.

“Currently, we are less than 50 per cent renewable and have a growing LNG industry. So, we need to develop a pipeline of hydro, solar and eventually wind projects. Happily, these are also cheap and (in the case of solar) very fast to build.”

Mr Lohberger added that the LNG industry currently dominates the PNG energy sector. However, due to the conflict in Ukraine, it was expensive to buy – or simply not export – LNG. There are also environmental issues.

“LNG is also very polluting with huge methane and carbon dioxide emissions that destroy our environment. It is difficult to see LNG competing with solar and other renewables from a price perspective, particularly if a carbon price is adopted,” Lohberger said.

“Our major trading partners are all adopting carbon prices, and this will pressure us to clean up emissions. Europe and China already have active carbon prices, with the US having a tax credit that effectively works the same way as a carbon price. Australia once had a very successful carbon price, but it was removed for political reasons.”

He continued, “Looking forward a few years, the most likely scenario is a grid that is almost entirely powered by solar and wind with hydro for backup on rainy and windless days. LNG might be useful for extreme situations a few times a year when demand cannot be met.”