The European Union has embarked on a carbon neutral journey and it is committed to creating potential partnerships with relevant stakeholders in Papua New Guinea to support its ambition of a “Green Deal” thus reducing carbon emissions by at least 55% by 2030.
As such, a meeting was held between the EU Ambassador to PNG H.E Jernej Videtič and the Minister of Energy and Member for Okapa Hon. Saki Soloma on 6 August 2021 to discuss possibilities for future collaborations under the soon-to-be adopted EU-PNG Development Partnership, which will be focused on Climate Change-Forestry-Biodiversity Nexus.
Renewable energy is linked with one of EU´s priority areas for future cooperation, which is climate change. The EU Ambassador stated that there is a possibility of using several modalities like blending, guarantees, technical assistance, grants and cooperation with private entities similarly to the EU’s support to the PNG biomass project. He also informed of the interest by the EU member states to invest in renewable energy in PNG.
The parties agreed that PNG forest, the third largest forest in the world, is a global good, and of immense value. The country can potentially benefit from its huge forest and the EU is ready to support PNG on this issue.
The Minister welcomed the EU’s support and mentioned that work on setting up the full operation of the authority is underway but as it is a newly created entity, they are challenged with lack of human resources and technical capacity.
The Minister said PNG is aware of the issues of climate change and the government is ready to settle PNG’s future into renewable energy. He added that as part of the global community, PNG through the National Energy Authority Office is prepared to tap into new concepts of producing renewable energy with technical assistance from development partners like the EU. The Minister presented all the ongoing investments in power production facilities and indicated that the necessary licenses have been adopted for some locations. He further highlighted opportunities for European companies to invest.
The Minister informed the EU Ambassador of an electrification partnership involving Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United States of America to support PNG electrification project, which is anticipated to cover up to 70% of the country by 2030.
The EU could complement the four-nation electrification project with investments in remote areas where off-grid electrification would immensely help the communities including the Member’s electorate of Okapa in Eastern Highlands Province. The EU Ambassador informed the Minister that there are many opportunities in the mini hydropower facilities with many companies in the EU highly specialised in this area of power generation.
The Ambassador invited the Minister to the second EU-PNG Business, Trade and Investment Conference meeting later this year in October.