The 11.6GW Baime hydropower project in Morobe Province in Papua New Guinea is scheduled for commissioning this month.

The project, which will be able to produce 81GWh of hydroelectric energy annually, is a part of PNG Power Limited’s Fifteen Year Power Development Plan (2016- 2031) which aims to replace energy production from diesel and fossil fuels with renewable hydroelectricity. The facility will power households and businesses, expanding access to electricity in the Morobe, Madang and Highlands provinces.  The project has already created job opportunities and technical capacity building for many PNG nationals during design and project implementation stages.

The project comprises a concrete weir connected to a 33m high surge tank by 5 km long low-pressure headrace GRP pipeline. From the surge tank a 3km long steel penstock connects with the surface power station. The power station houses two Pelton turbines with 5.8MW installed capacity each.

SMEC has been continually engaged on the project since 2014, initially appointed to lead pre-feasibility studies and concept design. Since then, SMEC has delivered detailed feasibility studies, the environmental and social impact assessment, detailed design, tendering and contractor selection. During construction, SMEC was appointed by the project financing agency, the Bank of South Pacific (BSP) as Independent Technical Expert (ITE).


Image: Aerial view of the headworks