The Baime Hydropower Project in Morobe Province in Papua New Guinea is scheduled for commissioning by March 2023. With total installed capacity of 11.6 MW, the plant will be able to produce 81 GWh of hydroelectric energy annually.
Baime Hydropower 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.
SMEC’s involvement in the project is one of the longest involvement in the full lifecycle design (from concept to implementation) of hydropower projects in PNG in the last 20 years. The project along with the Upper Baiune Hydropower Project (2007 – 2012), both owned and operated by PNG Forest Products, have showcased the success of SMEC’s design and implementation of hydropower projects in PNG.
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 3 km long steel penstock connects with the surface power station. The power station houses two Pelton turbines with 5.8 MW 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 Caption: Tilak Bhattarai, SMEC Hydropower Manager Southeast Asia and Pacific and Sujan Ghimire during recent inspection. Aerial view of Headworks.