PNG has abundant sources of energy, both renewable and non-renewable, however, only a small percentage has access to modern forms of energy (electricity, transport fuels, heat, etc.).For example, only about 12-13% of PNG households have access to grid electricity, while about 45% have access to solar pico lighting lanterns/kits. Energy access is critical to the socio-economic development of any country and therefore the lack of has been credited as one of the major reasons why PNG has progressed slowly since independence. The current UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), now directly states in goal 7 that all countries strive to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
On top of the need for greater accessibility to modern forms of energy, PNG has a pristine flora and fauna that must be preserved. In addition, conventional fossil-fuel systems have significantly contributed to planet earth’s current greatest threat- Climate Change!. Therefore the best option to meet the modern energy need and protect planet earth is to increase the uptake of renewable energy sources and decrease energy consumption by using energy efficient/conservation strategies.
The government of PNG realises this need for clean, reliable and affordable energy and have established this goal in the overarching PNG Vision 2050 roadmap which resulted in Development Strategic Implementation Plan 2010-2030 that established the 2030 target of 70% electrification access by 2030. Consequently, this issue has been captured in the broad planning framework of the National Strategy for Responsible Sustainable Development for PNG Policy, sector-specific policies such as Electricity Industry Policy and the recently established National Energy Policy, and cross-cutting National Climate Compatible Development Management Policy.
Globally this issue has been raised by the United Nations through the Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030), and the recent UNFCC-COP Paris Agreement. However one of the major issues in addressing this energy poverty while addressing climate change in PNG is the lack of human capacity in developing economies.
Therefore this Centre aims to increase human capacity through targetted research, education, awareness and advocacy of the uptake of renewable energy systems and the use of energy efficient strategies in PNG and the Pacific. This will be achieved through partnerships with relevant government actors, the private sector, NGOs’ and development partners.