Hela hydropower project, PNG – feasibility study

Client: Innovative Agro Industry Limited (IAI); end client being LR Group
Location: Tari, Hela province, Papua New Guinea
Date: May 2013 – September 2014

Exploring the feasibility of a new hydropower scheme to provide an increased supply of safe, clean, cost-effective and reliable electricity in PNG.


To alleviate the costs of generating electricity from diesel fuel, and to enable wider distribution of electricity to Papua New Guinea’s rapidly growing population, the Hela Provincial Government sought a detailed feasibility study for a new hydropower project in Hela Province, PNG.

Innovative Agro Industry Limited (IAI) contracted Entura to perform the feasibility study of the hydropower scheme.


Entura prepared a full feasibility study, including assessment of alternative options, geotechnical investigation, preliminary design of the project, energy assessment, project implementation schedule, cost estimation and project economic analysis.

The adopted arrangement has a 12m-high diversion dam, an intake structure, an underground desilting chamber close to the headworks, a 2.4 km reinforced concrete headrace tunnel, a forebay chamber, a steel-lined vertical shaft from the forebay to the power tunnel, an underground power station housing 3 x 56 MW Francis turbines (total 167 MW), with a net head of 283 m and a design discharge of 66 m3/s.


Entura’s studies have shown that the Hela project has high potential for economic power generation. This investment in new hydropower infrastructure is expected to sustain growth and jobs in PNG for decades to come.

The adopted layout developed by Entura is flexible to adapt the project to the real geological conditions and to the energy demand.

The feasibility study identified some significant geological risks, and the current feasibility design has adopted a conservative view in regards to these. During the tender design phase, these risks would have to be further assessed to ensure that the appropriate measures are adopted to deliver the project successfully.