Ok Tarim


Papua New Guinea


Ok Tarim Village, Western Province


29 October 2012


Pelena Single-Nozzle Pelton

Electrical Rating:



Western Province Sustainable Power Limited A subsidiary of PNGSDP, trading as Western Power

Turbine Supplier:

Pelena Energy

Civil Works Design:

Pelena Energy

Civil Works:

Pelena Energy, Client, and Community


Gabion-cage rock core with rubber lining

Hydraulic Works Design:

Pelena Energy

Hydraulic Works:

Pelena Energy and Community


Pelena Energy

Electrical Works:

Pelena Energy and Client

Construction Summary

In October 2012, the dedication of the Ok Tarim community was demonstrated through the construction of their hydro in only 15 days!

To Pelena, this project once again demonstrates that remote, rural communities are willing and able to enhance their livelihoods through the utilisation of skills that naturally exist in their communities. Engineering practices, in the true definition of ‘engineering’, are essential to daily life in a rural village. Building a micro-hydro is an extension of this skill set. Furthermore, engaging with communities and utilising local skills is of sound engineering practice as it establishes a foundation of skill and knowledge that results in local ownership and on-the-job training for future maintenance and expansion; an essential component to operating an electrification system in a remote location.

The project involved the construction of a weir, digging a trench for burying the pipe (penstock), installing a settling tank, constructing a turbine house (concrete foundations through to turbine and electrical installation), electrical transmission line to and throughout the village, and electrical reticulation of the village including street lights, house lights and GPO’s (“power points”).

Pelena Energy representatives Peter Lynch (Australia) and Nixon Silas (Solomon Islands) worked with Western Power (PNG) representatives Lester Lohia, Alex Tomba, Ben Kimali, and Gary Barip to assist and direct the Ok Tarim community to construct the hydro.

Pelena Energy sincerely thanks the community of Ok Tarim for being so welcoming, trusting, and committed to this project and to thank the local MP, Hon. Boka Kondra for his enthusiasm to bring electricity to this remote location.

Pelena Energy also sincerely thanks the management of Western Power for the opportunity to demonstrate Pelena’s approach in PNG for the first time. In particular, Mr Joseph Bariamu, Mr Peter Hairai, Mr Don Manoa, and Mr Mathias Sammy.


Gary charging his mobile phone.

Gary charging his mobile phone with electricity generated from the Ok Tarim Hydro. Prior to the hydro, the people of Ok Tarim needed to walk 2 days to the nearest town to have their mobile phones recharged. Charged phones allow greater communication, especially with family members away from Ok Tarim.

Digging for the turbine house.

All hands involved in digging the area for construction of the turbine house.

Transporting the turbine runner and shaft.

The turbine runner & turbine shaft are carried from the village to the turbine site. Why wait for roads when skills already exist in rural PNG!

Negotiating the steep terrain.

Negotiating the steep terrain of Ok Tarim. Growing up and living in a mountainous region develops talents and skills that are foreign to city-based people. With perfect balance, good communication, and skilled sure-footedness, all equipment was installed without injury or damage.

Residents near the turbine house.

Exhausting but joyous - a group of Ok Tarim residents near the turbine house.

Installing a street light post at night.

Working late into the evening by torch… installing one of the 21 street-light & transmission posts. 4 guy wires hold the post in position whilst the concrete footing is set.

Local solution to prevent sunburn.

Hard work & friendships forged. A local solution to avoiding a sun burnt nose!

Digging transmission post hole using customary tools.

Using customary digging tools. Sticks with forked ends used to dig the 1.5m deep holes in readiness for the transmission posts.

House owner with electrified house.

A proud house owner - now with electricity!

A proud house owner with their new verandah light.

A proud house owner with their new verandah light. All lights are high-efficiency weatherproof fittings.

Community inspects the turbine.

Joy as members of the Ok Tarim community inspect the Pelena single-nozzle Pelton turbine.

A standard Pelena Energy street light post.

A standard Pelena Energy street light post. These posts have been specifically designed for the tropics.

Penstock pipe prior to burial.

The penstock pipe snakes its way through the bush prior to being lowered into the trench for subsequent burying.

Streetlight near a house.

Streetlight near a house. Electricity is delivered to each post by insulated overhead cable, then runs underground to each house from a meterbox. The meterbox also contains safety switches (RCD’s / Earth leakage) to protect people. Should a house need to be relocated, or a house fire occurs, the supply to the house can be safely isolated at the meterbox.

Lowering the settling tank.

Lowering a modified poly water tank into a pit for use as a settling tank to clean the water before passing through the Penstock pipe to the turbine.


Copyright © 1998-2012 Pelena Energy

Last updated Wednesday, November 13, 2013