Hydro Power Generation

The company now operates three hydro power stations with a combined installed capacity of 14.9MW at Baiune, some 20 minutes from Bulolo. The first two stations were originally built pre-war to supply power to the gold dredges. Today these power stations supply clean energy for all of the Company’s production, commercial and residential power requirements. PNGFP also supplies bulk power to PNG Power’s Ramu grid and to Wau. PNGFP operates as the power supply authority in Bulolo supplying power to local businesses and domestic consumers.

All the gold dredges were driven by electric motors and as more dredges were added, firstly a 2.4MW hydro power station was built at Pine Tops and commissioned in 1932, and then the present 3.5MW Lower Baiune and 2.0MW Upper Baiune hydro- power stations were built. Peak load on the system was 5.4MW.

These power stations were sabotaged in 1942, as part of the Australian army's Scorched Earth policy. Consequently, extensive rehabilitation work was required after the end of WWII. The Pine Tops station was not rebuilt after WWII.

The electrical plant to rebuild the power stations was manufactured in 1945, and commissioned in 1946-1947. However, a fire in 1984 totally destroyed the Upper Baiune power station and it was rebuilt in 1985.

At Upper Baiune water is diverted from the Baiune River into a 1.6km long water race (open channel) which includes a 184 metre long tunnel. From the end of the race, a single penstock falls vertically 136 metres into the Upper Baiune power station. Upper Baiune uses two Pelton type water turbines running at 500 rpm, and each one of these drives a 1000 kW alternator, generating at 2,400 volts.

The water from the Upper Baiune tailrace discharges back into the Baiune River. Several hundred metres downstream it is again diverted into the Lower Baiune water race which is approximately 3km in length. From the end of this race the water falls vertically 162 metres through a single penstock into the Lower Baiune power station.

Lower Baiune has five water turbines of the Pelton type, running at 600 rpm, each powering a 700 kW GE alternator, which generates at 2,400 volts.

In 2012 PNGFP completed the construction of a new 9.4MW power station at Upper Baiune to generate additional power to supply to PNG Power’s Ramu grid. This was a major undertaking for the Company and is the first such project in PNG whereby a hydro power station has been built by a private organisation as a commercial venture for the sole purpose of supplying power to PNG Power

            Type:                            Run-of-river

            Gross head:                 411 metres

            Design flow:                  2.9 m3 per second

            Headrace pipe:            1,907 metres

            Surge tank height:        28 metres

            Penstock pipe:              2,198 metres

            Installed capacity:         9.4MW

At all three power stations voltage is stepped up to 33,000 volts by transformers. The two stations are linked by a 33,000 volt transmission lines, and another 33,000 volt transmission line connects Lower Baiune to the  which also connect to the main substation at Bulolo and to the PNG Power substation. The Bulolo town area, Wau and Edie Creek are supplied from the Bulolo Substation.

The Baiune hydro-electric power stations supply all the electricity consumed in the Wau and Bulolo areas.

Although the original technology used is old, the equipment was manufactured to an extremely high standard, and as a result the Lower Baiune station has operated continuously since 1947.