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Governor of Bali asks Indonesian government to stop planned geothermal project

A Sacred Journey from the Sea to the Mountains, Lake Beratan, Bedugul, Bali, Indonesia (source: flickr/ januartha, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 20 Sep 2019

With the strong local opposition to the Bedugul geothermal project on Bali, the local governor has now confirmed his continued opposition and certain assurances by the government in Jakarta that the project will not be pushed forward.

>In an endless story about the potential development of a geothermal project in Bali, Indonesia, the regional governor Wayan Koster has confirmed that the geothermal power plant project in Bedugul, Tabanan, will be stopped. Koster claimed to have spoken with the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) Ignasius Jonan.

“In addition, related to sensitive issues related to geothermal steam power plants in Bedugul. The Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources was willing to continue, I ask him not to continue,” said Koster in his one-year remarks at an event in Bali earlier this month.

Koster also talked about his negotiations related to the termination of the construction of the geothermal power plant project with Jonan. One of the reasons for the project’s development has been the opposition to the project by the local community.

The concerns mention continue to center around the sacredness of the project site.

Koster said Jonan finally decided to stop the project. Koster then gave another regional option as a place to develop renewable energy-based electricity generation projects.

“There are other places, Sir, there are Karangasem, Jembrana, Buleleng, Klungkung where renewable energy is available. Do not give it later if the water is dead there. So it’s over, the geothermal problem does not need to be discussed. It has been agreed with the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources. “The construction will not continue,” he said.

The Bedugul PLTP project, Bali was developed by PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy (PGE) and Bali Energy Ltd with a joint operating contract (KOB) scheme. The development of this project began in 1974 and stagnated in 2005.

Quoting CNN Indonesia, since 1997 the community in the Bedugul region has rejected the development of the Bedugul geothermal power plant since 1997. Even though exploration permits have been issued in 1996 and drilling permits for six wells have been carried out since 1997. In fact, three geothermal wells have also been exploited, resulting in the project being abandoned and having been stalled since.

Meanwhile, the estimated electrical energy that can be generated from the PLTP Bedugul is 414 MW. The Bali Energy joint contract will be completed in 2040 according to the 2004 contract amendment point, in which the government gets a 34 percent share of net operating income.

Apart from that, on August 21, 2019 the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources and Bali Province signed a cooperation agreement to build a new renewable energy-based power plant. One of them is based on solar energy, and another to use Crude Palm Oil (CPO).

“Bali’s current capacity of around 1,300 MW until 2025 is estimated to increase to 2,000 MW. My advice is two, first, the addition is 700 MW, so 350 MW is built in the province of Bali, and another 350 MW is supplied from Java, with Java Bali Connection which is 500 kV. My hope is that the 350 MW built in Bali is entirely from new and renewable energy (EBT), “Jonan said after witnessing the Bali MoU with PLN about electricity strengthening with the use of clean energy.

Source: Finance.Detik

Commentary: This continues the endless story about this project, which is not quite understandable for outsiders. With the economic growth of Bali, mostly through tourism, the energy demand has increased and makes the power supply by cable  from Java a factor of increasing instability for Bali. Burning palm oil essentially also creates challenges, not only in the constant supply of the oil, but also emissions that would surely be an issue for the experience of Bali for tourists and the local population. Geothermal energy provides a great opportunity tapping local resources for power generation, and a clean one. Naturally, the religious implications and approach to stakeholder engagement locally is important, but it is sad to see that no consensus can be found on this project.