“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Bringing the Internet within reach of 100 million Indonesians from 20 kms above Earth

Google Blog, Thursday, October 29, 2015  

In Indonesia today, only about 1 out of every 3 people are connected to the Internet. And even though most of their connections are painfully slow, they’re doing some pretty incredible things. Startups like motorcycle delivery service Go-Jek are building impressive adaptations to Indonesia’s unique challenges, while small businesses like fashionable hijab shop HiJup are using the web to redefine marketplaces.

Still, a majority of Indonesians don’t have access to the educational, cultural, and economic opportunities of the Internet. That’s why we’re pleased to announce that Indonesia’s top three mobile network operators—Indosat, Telkomsel, and XL Axiata—have agreed to begin testing Project Loon balloon-powered Internet over Indonesia in 2016. These tests represent an important step toward bringing all of Indonesia online.

From left to right: Ririek Adriansyah, CEO of Telkomsel; Dian Siswarini, CEO of
XL Axiata; Alexander Rusli, CEO of Indosat; Mike Cassidy, VP of Project Loon;
Sergey Brin, President, Alphabet Inc

Loon balloons act like floating mobile phone towers; flying on the stratospheric winds at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, each balloon beams an Internet connection down to the ground, and as one drifts out of range, another moves in to take its place. Loon can help telecommunications companies extend their networks; high in the sky, we can help overcome the difficulties of spreading equipment across an archipelago of 17,000 islands of jungles and mountains, providing connectivity to even the most remote islands.

Project Loon balloons travel approximately 20 km above the Earth’s surface in
 the stratosphere. Winds in the stratosphere are stratified, and each layer of wind 
varies in speed and direction. By moving with the wind, the balloons can be 
arranged to form one large communications network
Over the next few years, we’re hoping Loon can partner with local providers to put high-speed LTE Internet connections within reach of more than 100 million currently unconnected people—that’s enough speed to read websites, watch videos, or make purchases. From Sabang all the way to Merauke, many of these people live in areas without any existing Internet infrastructure, so we hope balloon-powered Internet could someday help give them access to the information and opportunity of the web.

But it’s not the only step Google is taking toward making the Internet both accessible and useful for people in Indonesia. Android One phones are helping to make high-quality smartphones more accessible in a country where most people first access the Internet on a mobile device. And along with that, we’re working to ease the use of data with features sure as Search Lite, which streamlines search so pages load more quickly, or by optimizing web pages so that they require less data to load. Indonesia is also one of the first countries where YouTube users can take videos offline to watch later during periods of low or no Internet connectivity.

We’re also doing what we can to ensure that language isn’t a barrier to the opportunities of the web. Google Translate was introduced for Bahasa in 2008, and more recently we’ve expanded it to Sundanese, a language that’s spoken by nearly 40 million people living on the island of Java.

Soon we hope many more millions of people in Indonesia will be able to use the full Internet to bring their culture and businesses online and explore the world even without leaving home. And for those of you who’ve never been to this country of rich culture and natural beauty, we invite you to head over to Google Street View to explore the famous temples at Borobudur and Prambanan.

Posted by Mike Cassidy, Vice President, Project Loon

Friday, April 24, 2015

Government to Kick-Start $56b in ‘Green’ Investments

Jakarta Globe, Tabita Diela, Apr 23, 2015

Photovoltaics on the eastern islands of Sumba are being used for electricity
generation. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak)

Jakarta. Indonesia will hold a global renewable energy summit next week, marking the launch of the country’s initiative to attract $56 billion in investment in environmentally friendly power generation over the next five years.

The “Tropic Landscape Summit 2015,” next Monday and Tuesday, will bring together government representatives and investors in the renewable energy industry from Australia, Switzerland, China, France, the United States, Britain and Singapore.

“Indonesians will account for 3.5 percent of the world population in 2025, but our fossil fuel reserves are much less than our needs,” Sudirman Said, the minister for energy and mineral resources, said at a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday.

“If we rely only on fossil fuels, we will run out when the time comes. We don’t have any choice other than to shift to renewable energy,” he said. GA

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Monday, April 20, 2015

From Aceh to Papua: Jokowi’s Infrastructure Visions

Cyclists crossing the Kelok 9 flyover in Payakumbuh, West Sumatra on
 July 3, 2013. GlobeAsia Both local and international investors have turned
 their attention to President Joko Widodo’s ambitious plans. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

The building of infrastructure in Indonesia is the key to understanding the extent of progress in the country.

During the World Economic Forum on East Asia, a question will be asked: Is Indonesia doing enough to show the public and investors they can trust that infrastructure development is moving ahead toward growth and becoming competitive in the region.

Indonesia, meanwhile, has been given the opportunity to showcase development and attract investment while playing host to the WEF event.

The administration of President Joko Widodo has set an infrastructure target, to be achieved by 2019, in which 24 seaports, 15 airports, power plants with a capacity of 35,000 megawatts and nine million hectares of agriculture land will be developed.

This was reiterated by WEF Indonesia committee member and Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel in a recent briefing to ambassadors and prominent business leaders.

The administration is confident in its programs to build dams, toll roads and railways to boost the local economy and raise the living standards of local communities.

Joko traveled to Aceh in March to inaugurate a number of projects in the area.

In North Aceh, he presided over the groundbreaking of the Keureuto dam — the largest to be built this year and expected to increase agricultural output in the region.

The construction of the dam will allow the irrigation of other regions which are in a deficit of rice production.

The dam is being built by state-owned construction companies Brantas Abipraya, Hutama Karya and Wijaya Karya.

It will hold 167 million cubic meters of water and irrigate 4,768 hectares of agricultural land. The reservoir will also prevent flooding in the downstream region.

Joko then moved on to Sabang, Indonesia’s most western tip, where he jump-started the construction of the Seunara reservoir, which has been stalled for more than nine years due to land clearance issues.

The issue was eventually solved as Joko negotiated with over 200 local residents who had been holding out for a larger compensation package.

“After talking to the residents, they have no problem. We have the budget, what’s important is the reservoir will be completed this year and function,” said Joko, who was accompanied by Aceh Governor Abdullah Zaini and Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimulyono.

The reservoir will provide water and help the local community boost income through the development of water tourism and aquaculture.

Veteran infrastructure expert Scott Younger says the president’s move to resolve the stalled Seunara project provides encouragement.

“He has quickly recognized the serious issue of lack of water storage across the country and acted on it. It is also positive that he has inaugurated the long-defined Keureuto project.

“With this early action it would seem that the president will certainly be trying to meet the target of 13 dam projects for this year,” Younger said.

But, he says, the longer-term concern is the lack of engineering and construction industry capacity to carry out all the work planned in the administration’s term, not just in water storage but across the infrastructure space as a whole.

Undaunted, the president pressed on to Lhokseumawe, the home of Kertas Kraft Aceh.

The company stopped production years ago, but the president has voiced he would like to see it running again as to contribute to the local economy.

“For more than 15 years I have wanted the company to be in operation again. There is adequate supply of raw materials from the forests which can be managed by the local people.

“We can plant fast-growing sub-tropical trees such as albizia or pine and we don’t have to wait 15, 20 or 30 years,” he said.

The president is no stranger to Aceh. He spent his early working years there and his first child was born in the province.

“Ibu Jokowi and I are very familiar with Aceh,” he said.

In Arun, just north of Lhokseumawe, the president launched the Arun regasification and storage terminal, marking a milestone in the country’s efforts to shift its energy consumption toward gas.

The plant sits on the now-depleted wells of Indonesia’s first natural gas resource, now run by Perta Arun Gas, a subsidiary of state-owned Pertamina Gas.

“The facility will regasify LNG sent from Kilang Tangguh in Papua,” Pertamina Gas president director Hendra Jaya explained, adding that the plant will provide the state electricity company with gas to power its generators in Belawan, Medan.

Joko’s initiative in Aceh marks a significant move in the nation’s infrastructure building, no president before him has had a similar strategy.

Dams and roads

This year, the administration is at work building at least 13 of the projected 49 dams it wants to construct over the next five years. The cost of the 13 dams will be at least Rp 12 trillion ($934 million), excluding land-clearance costs. The projects will be funded by the state budget.

Rising transportation and logistics costs have also won the attention of the government.

Many toll roads are to be constructed and work on the 2,700-kilometer Trans-Sumatra toll road, which will link Aceh and Lampung, is due to start this month.

The government has assigned Hutama Karya to undertake the project, as it is the only large state infrastructure firm not listed on the stock exchange.

Construction of the road has been estimated to cost Rp 300 trillion, with the government asking other state enterprises and local governments to cooperate without reservation.

The first stage of the project is to build 1,300 kilometers of road. Hutama Karya has been given an additional injection of funds by the government to get the job done.

Earlier Hutama Karya and other state enterprises, including banks, were ready to finance the project without relying on the state budget but the government deemed it would create too much of a burden.

During the previous administration of president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the project was also to be managed by Hutama Kaya. The project proved difficult to get started due to financial concerns with investors reluctant to commit to such a long-term project.

The focus then turned to building the Medan-Binjai toll road, but that plan has also changed, with the focus now on the link between Bakaheuni in Lampung and Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra.

The April ground-breaking date was chosen at a limited cabinet session presided over by Joko, Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Public Works Minister Basuki Hadimulyono, State-owned Enterprises Minister Rini M. Soemarno and Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro.

An important part of the decision was the revision of the previous presidential decree number 100/2014 which put an emphasis on land acquisition as a priority.

In a recent development, Rini revealed that four state enterprises — Hutama Karya, Jasa Marga, Waskita Karya and Wijaya Karya — will be tasked to jointly commission the project.

“The project will be done in sections. For instance Waskita Karya will do section 1, Wijaya Karya section 2 and so forth, Part of it will hopefully be completed in 2018,” she said, adding that some sections of the road will be commissioned by local governments involving the private sector.

Railway development

Following Joko’s pledge last year to develop railways in Papua, the Transportation Ministry will allocate at least Rp 105.6 trillion over the next five years to build railway networks beyond Java.

“We have evaluated the budget needs of the Directorate General of Railways at the ministry for the next five years and according to the new master plan pushed by the president, completion of the project is slated for 2019,” Director General for Railways Hermanto Dwiatmoko said.

In business terms, railway development beyond Java can be complex because of feasibility and financing, and as a result funding for railway development has to come either from the state budget or through public-private partnership, he said.

The plan may appear ambitious but Hermanto insisted that the project will begin in 2016.

It will contribute to what will become a total national railway network stretching 3,258 kilometers and be the longest railway project since the Dutch occupation of Indonesia.

Meanwhile, a feasibility study for the construction of the Trans Papua Railway has already begun. The new railway track will span 595 kilometers connecting Sorong and Jayapura.

Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said that development outside Java is one of the president’s priorities.

“There are many regions and border areas which are still untouched by infrastructure development.

“The president is committed to developing the eastern part of Indonesia where infrastructure is less developed.

“We at the Ministry of Home Affairs have reached a consensus with the Ministry of Public Works to support and develop infrastructure mainly in Papua, East Nusa Tenggara and the Kalimantan border areas,” he said.

House Commission V members who have visited Papua to see the prospective railway plan say they back the government’s initiative.

They have also encouraged the people of Papua to support it.

At the local level, regional officials have discussed the railway project with the central government but still have questions about the source of finance.

“We will have certainty on that in one or two months,” said regional secretary Ella Loupatty.

“We think that the project will begin from Sorong in West Papua and connect the Sarmi district in Papua province. If the project is realized, the distribution of goods will be easier and prices will go down in many areas.”

Hermanto added that he had asked regional officials to help in the process of land clearance, which poses one of the major hurdles to any infrastructure project.

He believes it is feasible to complete the Papua railway project within five years.

“We expect the project to be expedited although we note that any infrastructure development in Papua is not easy. But, we can’t delay it,” he said.

Higher commodity prices

Without the development of better infrastructure in the area, the price of cement could go as high as Rp 2 million for a 50 kilogram sack, while basic commodities such as sugar could cost between Rp 15,000 and Rp 50,000 a kilogram, many times over the price for such staples on Java.

Commenting on the rail plans, Younger, the infrastructure expert, says the target dates are highly optimistic.

“While railways must be part of the transportation infrastructure build-out, an emphasis for off-Java railway construction seems difficult to reconcile,” he says.

“There is still much to do in rail in Java and especially around the main urban centers, such as Jakarta and for fast rail links between the major cities. Railways make sense when there are many people and/or a large volume of commodities to transport.

“Java and off-Java highly-populated centers, such as Medan, fill the first criterion and off-Java in certain specific locations for the movement of commodities.”

And, he adds, the public-private partnership concept has been around for more than a decade, but a workable model is still to be found.

More needs to be done to encourage private investment.

Meanwhile, a number of countries in the East Asia region such as Singapore, Japan, and China have expressed interest to invest power plants projects in Indonesia, according to the Investment Coordination Board (BKPM).

The BKPM has received 12 new applications for investment permits from foreign investors to build power plants worth $8.9 billion, or around Rp 116 trillion.

It’s not just foreign investors looking towards Indonesian infrastructure — many domestic investors are interested as well.

BKPM chairman Franky Sibarani said that his office has also received applications for investment permits from 17 local investors.

GlobeAsia and the Jakarta Globe are media partners of the World Economic Forum on East Asia. Parts of this article originally appeared in the April issue of GlobeAsia.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

We Are Waiting for You to Invest in Indonesia, Jokowi Tells APEC in Speech

Jakarta Globe, Nov 11, 2014

President Joko Widodo delivers a speech at the APEC CEO Summit as part of the
 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit at the China National Convention
Center in Beijing on Nov. 10, 2014. (AFP Photo/Pool/Andy Wong)

Jakarta. Indonesian President Joko Widodo addressed business leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO summit in Beijing on Monday, where he put out a call for greater investment in the archipelago and promised a friendlier climate for doing business in the country.

The following is his speech:

Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen and CEOs.

First, on behalf of Indonesian government and the people of Indonesia I would like to thank you for coming to my presentation. Today I am very happy to be among with you because you know I was a businessman years ago. So this morning I am very happy because we can talk about business, about investment with all of you.

This picture shows you our map of Indonesia. We have a population of 240 million and the distance is like from London in the UK to Istanbul in Turkey. And imagine, we have 17,000 islands.

Our national budget in 2015 is $167 billion and the fuel subsidy [allocation] is $27 billion. It’s huge. So we want to channel our fuel subsidy from consumption to productive activities. We want to channel [the money] to farmers for seed, for fertilizers, and also for irrigation. And we want to build dams — 25 dams in five years from our fuel subsidy to maintain the water supply to farming areas.

Some subsidy [funds] we want to channel to fishermen, to give them boat engines [and] refrigerators. We want to increase the income of the fishermen. Some fuel subsidy [funds] we want to [give to] micro and small enterprises in the villages. We want to help them raise working capital. And some subsidy [funds] we want to channel to the health program [and] the education program. And the subsidy [funds] we [also] want to channel to infrastructure.

In five years we want to build 24 seaports and deep seaports. We have 17,000 islands, so we need seaports and deep seaports. And this is your opportunity: 24 seaports and deep seaports.

This picture shows our Jakarta port, Tanjung Priok Port. In 2009, the capacity was 3.6 million TEUs a year. And our plan in 2017 is around 15 million TEUs a year. This is the potential [for] ports in Indonesia. This is your opportunity. We want to build in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Java, Sulawesi, Maluku, also in Papua. And we plan to build our [railway network]. We already [have railway lines] in Java and we want to build in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua. This is your opportunity.

Now we talk about mass transportation. We want to build mass transportation in six big cities in Indonesia. We started in Jakarta last year, and we want to build in Medan, Makassar, Semarang, Bandung [and] Surabaya. So, this is also your opportunity. Because you know our national budget is limited.

Now we [will] talk [about] our maritime agenda. We want to build [a] sea toll. What is [a] sea toll? [A] Sea toll is [a] maritime transportation system to make our transportation costs lower [and] more efficient. We want to build from the west to the east. We hope not only the vessels can enter our sea toll but also mother vessels can enter the sea toll. So the price, the cost of the transportation, [becomes] more efficient.

For example, the price of [...] one sack [of] cement in Java is $6 [...] But in Papua the price is $150 [...] Imagine, 25 times [as much]. So we hope with our sea toll the price in our islands [will be] the same.

Electricity. We need power plants. We need around 35,000 [megawatts] to build our industries, projects, industrial zones, [manufacturing] zones. So we need power plants. This is also your opportunity to invest in this project. Because we need our power plants for manufacturing, for industrial zones.

Many investors, a lot of investors, when they come to me most of them [...] always complain about land acquisition. I will push my ministers, my governors, my mayors to help clear this problem. I have experience with land acquisition when I was a governor. We [had the] Jakarta Outer Ring Road [project that] started 15 years ago but stopped eight years ago, because we had a problem. One point five kilometers [was] unfinished because there [were] 143 families [who did] not accept [...] the compensation price. So last year I invited them [...] to lunch and dinner. Four times. Ah, this is me. I invited them and then we talked about the problem. Four times. And the problem [was] cleared.

And now the toll road has been [in use since] seven months ago.

Now [let’s] talk business permits. We have a national one-stop service office that can help you, that will serve you, that will facilitate you, that will give you your business permit. For example, [a] principle business permit [will take] three days to process.

Finally, again on behalf of the Indonesian government and the people of Indonesia I would like to thank you for your listening my presentation. We are waiting for you to come to Indonesia. We are waiting for you to invest in Indonesia. Thank you.

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Draft of the Master Plan for National Capital Integrated Coastal Development. 
(JG Screen Grab courtesy of the website of the Coordinating Ministry of
Economic Affairs)

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Indonesia to Offer PPP Projects Worth $52b

Jakarta Globe, Eko Adityo Nugroho, Nov 06, 2014

Jakarta's government has set the capital's Decent Living Index at Rp 2.5 million
 ($206) for 2015, a strong signal to workers that minimum wages are unlikely
to increase substantially. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

Jakarta. The Indonesian government plans to offer 43 infrastructure projects worth $52 billion to private investors next year, according to an official of the National Development Planning Ministry.

Bastari Panji Indra, a director at the ministry, said the projects will be offered under public-private partnership (PPP) schemes.

The projects offered include airports, monorail and, light rail transits, toll roads, coal transportation trains, ports, and water supply.

The government has published details regarding the projects in the Public Private Partnership Book 2015, which guides infrastructure development in the country.

Speaking on the sideline of Indonesia Infrastructure Week late on Wednesday, Bastari said of the 43 projects, eight are classified as “ready” to be offered, 11 are   “prospective” and 24 are marked as “potential.”

Bastari said the government will offer 10 major airport projects to private investors, including Juwata in North Kalimantan, Tjilik Riwut in Central Kalimantan and Fatmawati Soekarno in Bengkulu.

“Apart from airports, there are also a monorail project, coal transportation by train, water supply and six ports,” Bastari said.

Citing the Public Private Partnership Book 2015, he said the government plans to build an express train line connecting the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in East Jakarta to the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, in order to ease passenger commuting.

The director also announced a light rail transit system in Bandung, West Java, new train networks for South Sumatra, three water supply projects in Semarang, Central Java; Pekanbaru in Riau, and Pondok Gede in Bekasi.

Bastari also flagged a project for waste disposal processing in Bogor and Depok.

Deputy Minister Dedy Supriadi Priatna, who is charged with infrastructure affairs, said the government plans to revise the PPP scheme to attract investors, including with the introduction of a performance-based annuity scheme.

Under such a scheme, private investors contribute to development, financing and the operation of a project with a given concession time.

Once the project is open for commercial use, investors will receive regular payments for providing the service to the public, with a performance standard agreed to by both parties.

The new government under President Joko Widodo has a lot of research to do into the infrastructure sector.

Poor road and toll road conditions, over-crowded airports, over-capacity ports, and a lack of train networks have been cited as the main stumbling blocks to strong and sustained economic growth.

The previous administration under Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono repeatedly offered infrastructure projects to tender, but only a few have been completed.

Poor preparation of projects, complex bureaucracy and low return in investment for the private sector remain major factors that deter investor interest.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

ADB Supports Renewable Energy by Investing in Indonesian Geothermal Plant

ADB, 31 March 2014

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a $350 million financing package supporting the construction of the 320 megawatt Sarulla Geothermal Power Development Project in North Sumatra, Indonesia, an investment expected to unlock clean energy investments across the country, which holds 40% of the world’s geothermal resources.

The renewable energy project will provide clean, baseload power to an Indonesian grid currently dominated by aging coal and oil-fired power plants. It is expected to reduce 1.3 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year upon completion, which is estimated to be in 2018.

“Geothermal power taps into an abundant indigenous resource in Indonesia that can provide a more sustainable and secure form of clean energy while significantly lowering carbon emissions,” said Jackie B. Surtani, Senior Investment Specialist in ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department.

Indonesia currently uses coal and oil to produce 65% of its electricity and fuel its economic growth. The country has vowed to increase the share of renewable energy in its primary energy supply from 5% in 2010 to 25% by 2025, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2020. Geothermal plants typically produce less than 10% of the greenhouse gas emitted by fossil-fuelled thermal plants.

Under the loan package, ADB will provide $250 million from its ordinary capital resources, $80 million from the ADB Clean Technology Fund (CTF), and $20 million from the Canadian Climate Fund for Private Sector in Asia (funded by the Government of Canada) under the Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility. The project represents the first deployment by ADB of the Canadian Climate Fund and the first disbursal of CTF funds by ADB in Indonesia.

ADB’s climate finance capabilities were instrumental in establishing the first commercially financed, utility-scale geothermal independent power plant project in Indonesia in more than a decade. The climate funds were structured as an innovative loan tranche that bridged the financing gap between banks and investors to maintain financial viability of the project.

The project sponsors are Itochu Corporation, Kyushu Electric Power Company, Ormat International, and Medco Power Indonesia.

Six commercial banks – Bank of  Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, ING Bank, Mizuho Bank, National Australia Bank, Société Générale, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation – will also co-finance the total $1.17 billion loan package, which ADB and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) acted as Lead Structuring Banks.

The project will be developed and implemented under a 30-year energy sales contract with Perusahaan Listrik Negara, the national electricity utility company, a 30-year joint operating contract with Pertamina Geothermal Energy, and a 20-year guarantee from the Ministry of Finance.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Activists Rally Against Nuclear Power in Blackout-Prone Indonesia

Plans to construct a nuclear power plant in Indonesia have received global attention as anti-nuke activists from Japan meet with local campaigners

Jakarta Globe,  Cory Rogers, Mar 11, 2014

The installation of a nuclear research reactor at an operation hall of the
 National Nuclear Energy Agency (Batan) complex in Serpong on April 23,
2013. (AFP Photo)

Yogyakarta/Jakarta. A government-backed plan to construct nuclear power plants in Indonesia has been met with backlash by several local groups in the archipelago, highlighting the tensions nuclear power projects face in a post-Fukushima world.

Recently announced plans to make the West Java district of Subang the site of Indonesia’s fourth nuclear reactor has pushed a decades-long conflict back into the spotlight, pitting those who view the establishment of nuclear power plants as a valuable addition to Indonesia’s energy portfolio against others who say the social and environmental risks of radioactive contamination outweigh the potential benefit.

Critics point out that Indonesia’s geologic position atop the “Ring of Fire” makes it particularly vulnerable to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions — events that drastically increase the odds of a nuclear tragedy. These concerns are augmented by fears that rampant corruption and graft will undermine the government’s ability to implement and then manage costly safety protocols.

In January, Japanese representatives from No Nukes Asia Actions (NNAA), a Tokyo-based anti-nuclear coalition, gathered with Indonesian activists in Balong, Central Java, to discuss resistance strategies and the prospects of an international partnership to thwart the prospect of nuclear power in Indonesia.

“With Fukushima, the whole world witnessed the terrible effects of nuclear disaster,” NNAA rep Seung Choo told some 200 residents in Balong over two days of talks. “Now, we must say no more nuclear plants — not here in Indonesia or anywhere else.”

Balong provided a fitting backdrop to the event: in 2007, growing fears over a proposed nuclear power plant cohered into an alliance of local residents, business owners, religious groups and students that eventually thwarted government plans to break ground in 2014.

In 2007, the Jepara branch of Nahdatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization, even issued a fatwa against the proposed plant, drawing the ire of state officials who had been courting the group for support.

But nuclear plans in Indonesia have been on the table for a large chunk of the nation’s modern history.

Nuclear power plays

The National Nuclear Energy Agency (Batan), created by former President Sukarno in 1964, has been Indonesia’s most strident nuclear energy advocate. The organization has aired hopes to establish three fully operational nuclear power plants in the country by 2025, a plan that has been embraced as part of Indonesia’s Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia’s Economic Development (MP3EI).

Batan spokesman Eko Madi Parmanto says claims of public resistance to nuclear power have been greatly exaggerated in Indonesia.

“We’ve periodically conducted surveys to measure people’s acceptance of the nuclear plant plan,” Eko told the Jakarta Globe last week. “The latest national survey in 2013 indicates that 67.6 percent of respondents support the plan.”

The agency views nuclear energy as an alternative to Indonesia’s addiction to unsustainable fossil fuels that pollute the environment and contribute to climate change. Indonesia has a wealth of potential in safe, renewable energy sources such as solar, hydro and geothermal, but oil, coal and natural gas still provide more than over 80 percent of the nation’s power. Only 12 percent of the country’s energy is provided by renewable sources.

In geothermal power alone, Indonesia is operating at a mere 4.2 percent of its potential output, despite sitting astride 40 percent of the world’s geothermal resources.

Oil, which accounts for about 30 percent of the country’s current energy supply, is now mostly imported, leaving the country vulnerable to unhedged price volatility together with currency fluctuations. In addition, oil — along with coal and natural gas — powers an electrical grid still suffering from chronic energy shortages throughout the country. Millions of poor, rural Indonesians, especially in eastern Indonesia, remain without electricity, and struggles to meet existing electricity needs are made worse by an 8 percent annual rise in demand.

The situation requires huge government subsidies in fuel and electricity just to keep up, consuming 41 percent of all government expenditures; more than what is budgeted for education, environmental protection, health, and housing combined. In 2013, some 13 percent of the nation’s subsidized fuel was used at power plants, according to government agency data.

According to Batan, nuclear power plants would play only a minor role in addressing these multi-pronged energy woes, adding just 5 percent to Indonesia’s total energy production if the government’s 2025 energy diversification goals were met.

Gus Nung presents in front of the Japanese representatives of No Nukes
Asia Actions (NNAA) on January 12, 2014. (JG Photo/Cory Rogers)

Resistance to Batan-led advocacy

At the local level, Batan has drawn criticism for its attempts to win support among populations living near proposed plants, which over the years have included sites in Balong, Bangka-Belitung, Kalimantan and Madura.

The promotional efforts carried out by Batan were key in galvanizing opposition to the proposed plant back in the mid 2000s, said Daviq, the secretary of the Balong Community Union (PMB), a local anti-nuclear energy group.

That advocacy campaign, which called for annual outlays of $2.5 million to fund scholarship programs, social events and a host of other activities, highlighted the benefits of nuclear power while, according to Daviq, making scant mention of its risks. When public queries about the program failed to produce useful information, many grew skeptical of the plan.

“We finally made the decision that OK, if the government is not willing to give the information to us, then we must seek it for ourselves,” he said.

Iwan Kurniawan, a lecturer at the Jakarta-based Institute of Archipelago Business, recalled similar transparency concerns at play in Madura, East Java, where in 2003 Batan was busy promoting another nuclear plant. Formerly a nuclear physicist with Batan who left the agency over an undisclosed dispute, Iwan said that in order to assuage safety concerns voiced by locals, Batan made spurious claims regarding its capacity to install the latest and safest model plant in Madura.

“The kind of plant being discussed was still in its research phase in South Korea,” Iwan said, explaining that such a plant could not be promised. He added that localities targeted by Batan-led nuclear advocacy were frequently vulnerable to this kind of misinformation.

“When Batan comes and discusses the benefits, I come and discuss the risks to create a more balanced perspective,” he said.

As in Balong, once the risks of nuclear contamination became apparent, public opposition stymied construction of the proposed plant in Madura. Activists argued that given the amount of untapped alternative energy sources that existed, the risks of nuclear disaster were avoidable and unjustifiable.

The nation’s nuclear power agency denied the allegations, explaining that Batan attempts to inform the public about leakage, natural disaster, and operators’ negligence risks as well as detailed information on how plant operators would ensure safety.

“We’ve also developed an information system on our website, and people can ask us via email about this safety technology,” Eko said.

Socialization campaigns remain crucial to successful implementation at proposed sites “only if the government has seriously designed the nuclear power plant program,” Eko explained.

“There are currently no plans for research at other locations,” he said.

The global business of nuclear power

If domestic resistance to nuclear power has hinged on countering Batan’s campaigns, the international strategy advocated by the NNAA seeks to shed a critical light on the corporate interests driving nuclear energy.

According to NNAA representative Seung Choo, business-friendly regulations in Japan that reallocate risk to nuclear operators encourage investment by companies like Toshiba, GE and Hitachi — the companies that build the plants. Japan’s 1961 Act of Compensation for Nuclear Damages mandates that the nuclear power operators, as opposed to the suppliers, assume exclusive accountability for any nuclear damage caused by an accident, making taxpayers ultimately responsible for damages.

This creates what Seung Choo calls a “crisis of liability,” where corporations that stand to profit from construction have less incentive to prioritize safety.

These laws work to promote “the sound development of the nuclear industry,” the NNAA said in a statement, and the group fears such business-friendly regulations will be replicated elsewhere as nuclear suppliers seek to access markets like Indonesia.

According to Indonesia’s 1997 Nuclear Power Act, if the country were to successfully establish a nuclear power plant, the suppliers would be responsible for up to Rp 900 billion ($76 million) in damages to be doled out over a maximum period of 30 years, regardless of the actual cost of damages.

Recent studies have shown that radiation-induced cancer can take as long as 40 years to develop, and the financial recovery of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster will approach $250 billion dollars.

Attempts to contact the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises for clarification on current regulations were unsuccessful.

In response to the situation in Japan, where the corporate builders of nuclear power plants are shielded from restitution, the NNAA is challenging whether the 1961 act in court was constitutional.

Armed with 22 lawyers, their recently filed suit seeks redress for Japanese victims, and to inspire citizens in other nations to “abolish special legal provisions that protect nuke businesses all around the world,” the group said in a statement.

The suit seeks 10,000 plaintiffs worldwide to sign over power of attorney so that the NNAA can represent them in court. “Anyone can be a plaintiff,” Choo said. “Even someone traumatized by the media coverage qualifies as a victim.” If the NNAA wins, these foreign plaintiffs will receive a symbolic, one-dollar payout.

In Balong, the NNAA made hundreds of documents available for signing. Many, including Nuruddin Amin, the head of the Hasyim Asy’ari Pesantren (Islamic boarding school) in Bangsri, Central Java, and a longtime supporter of the anti-nuclear cause, expressed enthusiasm for the strategy.

“The Fukushima accident is not only a tragedy for the Japanese,” Nuruddin said. “It is a tragedy for the whole world, and I hope we all will join to sign this power of attorney so that we can work on this issue together.”

Many Indonesian activists, however, remained mindful that the first battle remains on the home front, helping provide balanced information to communities earmarked for nuclear power plant development.

For Iwan, the resistance coalitions that fought a successful battle in Balong ought to provide guidance and direction as the drive for domestic nuclear power progresses.

“Here we have a model of resistance that can be delivered elsewhere,” he said.

— Erwida Maulia contributed to this report in Jakarta

Women shout slogans in front of the National Diet in Tokyo
on March 9, 2014 as they take part in a rally denouncing nuclear
power plants (AFP, Toru Yamanaka)

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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Indonesia calls for solar power project investment

Dawn.com, 2013-11-06

JAKARTA: The government is tendering as many as 80 projects related to the development of solar power plants in an attempt to boost the country’s renewable energy supplies.

The 80 projects will have a combined capacity of up to 140 megawatts (MW), according to Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry director general for renewable energy Rida Mulyana.

The ministry opened the tender starting last Thursday and is expected to announce the winners of the projects by this December.

“The solar plants’ construction will take about six months. Therefore, we will see the plants commence operation in the middle of next year,” Rida said as quoted by Antara news agency.

He added most of the solar power plants would be located in eastern Indonesia, such as in Papua, West Papua, Maluku, Sulawesi and Nusa Tenggara. Most of the power plants will have a 1 MW capacity while the biggest project will be located in Jayapura, Papua, with a 6 MW capacity.

According to Rida, at least nine units of power plants would be offered for development in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) with a total capacity of 14 MW. He said seven locations in Papua would host solar power plants with a 14.5 MW capacity, six locations in North Maluku with a combined capacity of 7.5 MW, six developments in Maluku with 9.5 MW and another six projects in North Sulawesi with 13 MW.

There will also be three locations in Aceh hosting 4 MW solar power plants, six units in Riau with an 8.5 MW capacity, seven units in West Kalimantan with a 9.5 MW capacity, five unit plants in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) with 17 MW and four units in East Java with a 4 MW capacity.

The 140 MW projects will need roughly 2.8 trillion rupiah in investment. Earlier this year, the government inaugurated the largest capacity solar power plant in Karangasem, Bali. The plant has a 1 MW capacity and cost 26 billion rupiah in investment.

The government has put aside 400 billion rupiah on the development of solar power plants this year.

According to the announcement on the renewable energy directorate’s website, the tenders of power plant projects have been open for development in Kupang, NTT and in North Lombok, NTB, with 5 MW and 2 MW capacities, respectively.

Despite abundant potential in renewable energy, the country remains heavily dependent on the fossil fuel for its electricity supply.

According to a report in the renewable energy directorate general, the country’s solar power plants’ installed capacity had reached 59 MW as of early November.

Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik said the country had a solar energy potential of 50,000 MW. “A number of companies came to us and said they wanted to build plants,” Jero said at an event recently.

Attempting to boost solar power plant development, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry issued last June Ministerial Decree no. 17 2013, which regulates the purchasing of electricity produced by photovoltaic solar power plants by state-owned electricity company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN).

– By arrangement with the ANN/The Jakarta Post –

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Indonesia Allocates $302 Million to Back Geothermal Exploration

Jakarta Globe, Fitri Wulandari,  June 18, 2013.

Indonesia started a fund to finance the exploration of geothermal energy resources as the nation seeks to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels for electricity.

The finance ministry’s investment agency will manage Rp 3 trillion ($302 million) this year for geothermal exploration, Saritaon Siregar, the agency’s chairman, said in an interview at a conference in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Local governments that have geothermal areas can use the fund to determine their potential, he said.

“If exploration shows good results, the local government can put the area for bidding and investors that win can repay the exploration funds to us,” Siregar said.

The energy source produces 1,341 megawatts, or less than 5 percent of Indonesia’s potential geothermal generating capacity of 29,038 megawatts, according to data from the energy and mineral resources ministry.

Private investors can also apply for loans for geothermal exploration, Siregar said. The agency hasn’t started distributing funds, he said.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Government Aims to Build 36 New Solar Power Plants in 2013

Jakarta Globe, SP/Ari Rikin,  April 25, 2013

A solar power plant from Star Energy in Wayang Windu, West Java.
(GA Photo/Defrizal)
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The government is planning to build 36 new solar power plants across Indonesia, especially in isolated and border areas, an official said on Thursday.

Alihudin Sitompul, the director of renewable energy and energy conservation at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, said that the government was targeting to increase the number of solar power plants to 153 this year, up from last year’s 117.

The development of solar power plants face tougher financial, technical and other constraints than other types of power sources, Alihudin said, but that the government was relying on partnerships to help manage the construction.

“So far, our policies regarding the development of solar power plants are already good. However, our partners should be able to decide whether the [solar plant projects] are feasible or not, so that they do not force themselves to do them,” he said.

Speaking on the sidelines of a workshop on renewable energy in Jakarta, Alihudin said that forcing unfeasible projects to realization often results in delays, improper installation, lower quality plants and higher prices.

He said that the central government and its provincial counterparts have earmarked Rp 1 trillion ($103 million) for solar power plant construction this year, an increase from last year’s budget of Rp 700 billion.