An employee walking along a thermal pipe at the Kamojang geothermal
power plant near Garut, West Java, on March 18. State utility provider
 Perusahaan Listrik Negara is targeting an additional 135 megawatts of
electricity from three new geothermal plants. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)
 

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: 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.)
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - (Text version)

“.. Nuclear Power Revealed

So let me tell you what else they did. They just showed you what's wrong with nuclear power. "Safe to the maximum," they said. "Our devices are strong and cannot fail." But they did. They are no match for Gaia.

It seems that for more than 20 years, every single time we sit in the chair and speak of electric power, we tell you that hundreds of thousands of tons of push/pull energy on a regular schedule is available to you. It is moon-driven, forever. It can make all of the electricity for all of the cities on your planet, no matter how much you use. There's no environmental impact at all. Use the power of the tides, the oceans, the waves in clever ways. Use them in a bigger way than any designer has ever put together yet, to power your cities. The largest cities on your planet are on the coasts, and that's where the power source is. Hydro is the answer. It's not dangerous. You've ignored it because it seems harder to engineer and it's not in a controlled environment. Yet, you've chosen to build one of the most complex and dangerous steam engines on Earth - nuclear power.

We also have indicated that all you have to do is dig down deep enough and the planet will give you heat. It's right below the surface, not too far away all the time. You'll have a Gaia steam engine that way, too. There's no danger at all and you don't have to dig that far. All you have to do is heat fluid, and there are some fluids that boil far faster than water. So we say it again and again. Maybe this will show you what's wrong with what you've been doing, and this will turn the attitudes of your science to create something so beautiful and so powerful for your grandchildren. Why do you think you were given the moon? Now you know.

This benevolent Universe gave you an astral body that allows the waters in your ocean to push and pull and push on the most regular schedule of anything you know of. Yet there you sit enjoying just looking at it instead of using it. It could be enormous, free energy forever, ready to be converted when you design the methods of capturing it. It's time. …”
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Monday, June 22, 2015

China gives new twist to world's second tallest building

Yahoo – AFP, Bill Savadove, 21 June 2015

The under-construction Shanghai Tower (bottom C), the Shanghai World 
Financial Center (L) and the Jin Mao Tower (AFP Photo/Johannes Eisele)

Shanghai (AFP) - The world's second tallest building, Shanghai Tower, will soon open in the Chinese financial capital with a twist -- a 120-degree twist, to be exact.

A softened triangular "outer skin" is literally twisted around a circular core, sending the glass and steel tower spiralling 632 metres (2,086 feet) into the grey sky above the city.

State-backed developer Shanghai Tower Construction and Development Co. views the modern design as a symbol of China's future, a super-tall building in the city's gleaming Pudong financial district, which did not even exist 25 years ago.

The under-construction Shanghai 
Tower, will soon open in the Chinese 
financial capital with a twist (AFP
Photo/Johannes Eisele)
People involved with the project said the building will open this summer, with office tenants moving in first, but the developer declined to comment.

"This twist is an iconic symbol of looking forward for the Chinese people," said Grant Uhlir, practice area leader and principal for Gensler, the US architecture firm whose design was chosen for the building which broke ground in 2008.

"It's been referred to as a strand of DNA. It's also been referred to a place where the ground connects with the sky," he said.

Although still dwarfed by the reigning champion Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which stands at 828 metres (2,732 feet), and with new challengers under construction, the $2.4 billion Shanghai Tower can still lay claim to a host of superlatives.

Besides being the tallest double-facade building, the world's fastest elevators travelling 18 metres per second will whisk people up and down while the globe's second highest hotel will be located on the 84th to 110th floors.

An estimated 16,000 to 18,000 people will pass through the Shanghai Tower every day. The building will sway up to a metre (three feet) in high winds, with a 1,000-tonne "damper" weight near the top reducing the effect.

'It has to be unique'

"When you do these iconic, super-tall buildings, it can't be a copy of something else. It has to be unique," said American chief architect Marshall Strabala, who participated in the project while at Gensler.

Now the head of his own firm, he spent part of his three-decade career working on some of the world's tallest buildings including the Burj Khalifa.

He said the double skin plays other roles besides pure design, providing insulation to keep the building cool in summer and warm in winter and reducing wind stress.

"This building is a giant Thermos bottle, that's all it is," he said.

But the vacuum flask metaphor masks the mind-numbing complexity involved in balancing the design, safety requirements, building codes and client demands that shaped the tower.

Marshall Strabala, the chief architect of the Shanghai Tower, poses next 
to a three-metre model of the tower (AFP Photo/Johannes Eisele)

Despite the futuristic look, concepts owing to Chinese culture are present.

A golden canopy at the base of the building was originally meant to be green, the colour of weathered copper, but the developer rejected the idea because in Chinese, the expression "wearing a green hat" means being a cuckold.

"It's not a good thing. Gold is a colour of prosperity," Strabala said.

A white stone structure dubbed the "River Wall" on the lower floors conceptually cuts the building into west and east, like Shanghai itself is divided into Puxi and Pudong on either side of the Huangpu River.

"Pudong side is business, Puxi side is fun. The retail, restaurants (in the building) are on the fun Puxi side," Strabala said.

The developer is expected to shun using floor numbers with the number four, which sounds like the Chinese word for death.

Gensler says the building has 121 "occupied" floors, while the total number has been given as 127 or 128 storeys depending on how they are counted.

'Curse' of tall buildings

Office space will take up much of the 573,000-square-metre (6.2-million-square-foot) building, while the retail space is small compared to a shopping mall -- just four floors.

The building's arrival on the Shanghai office market could potentially pull down rents and drive up the vacancy rate, analysts said.

An empty office space in the Shanghai 
Tower, which is still under construction
(AFP Photo/Johannes Eisele)
"It remains to be seen whether the pool of tenants currently in Pudong is large enough to fill the building or whether Shanghai Tower will need to start offering discounts to attract others," said Michael Stacy, executive director of Cushman & Wakefield's tenant advisory group in China.

Property agents are quoting rental rates in a range of 9 to 16 yuan ($1.45 to $2.56) per square metre a day depending on location, but they say the developer is offering rent-free periods.

Strabala believes the prestige of the address will draw tenants though he jokes about the "curse" of tall buildings, which seems to follow economic strife.

Workers broke ground on Shanghai Tower in November 2008, just weeks after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which helped spark the global financial crisis, and it will open at a time when China's economy is slowing.

Strabala, however, is not worried, stressing that recognition of the building as the world's second tallest will attract tenants.

"This building will fill up because people will want to be here," he said.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Moroccan villagers harvest fog for water supply

Yahoo – AFP, Zakaria Choukrallah, 19 June 2015

A Moroccan inspects fog fences in a hamlet on the outskirts of the southern
coastal city of Sidi Ifni, on June 7, 2015 (AFP Photo/Fadel Senna)

Sidi Ifni (Morocco) (AFP) - Green technology to turn fog into fresh water straight from the tap has put an end to exhausting daily treks to distant wells by village women in southwest Morocco.

Families in five highland Berber communities have begun to benefit from "fog harvesting", a technique devised in Chile two decades ago and since taken up in countries from Peru to Namibia and South Africa.

On the summit of a mountain named Boutmezguida, which looms over the villages at 1,225 metres (4,019 feet), thick fog shrouds about 40 finely meshed panels designed to trap water and relay it to a network of pipes.

A Moroccan woman uses water collected 
on fog fences to wash her hands in a 
hamlet on the outskirts of the southern
 coastal city of Sidi Ifni, on June 7, 2015
(AFP Photo/Fadel Senna)
To have water running from a faucet at home is a "revolution" for inhabitants of the semi-arid mountains known as the Anti-Atlas, says Aissa Derhem, the chairman of an active regional association called Dar Si Hmad for Development, Education and Culture (DSH).

DSH prides itself on building "the world's largest fog-collection and distribution system" and helping locals in the Sidi Ifni region -- Derhem's birthplace -- to learn to operate it, after repeated droughts and scarce rain.

"Our rain here is the fog," Derhem adds.

Tiny droplets are caught on the mesh while fog wafts through panels. The harvesters mix all they catch with more water derived from drilling, then supply the villages on the lower slopes.

Derhem first heard about fog harvesting 20 years ago. A few years later on returning to Sidi Ifni, he realised that the local climate was similar to that of the Andes in South America.

DSH joined forces with Fog Quest, a Canadian charity whose volunteers work in a range of developing countries. North Africa's first pilot project became operational after almost a decade's work refining techniques.

'An imitation of nature'

The valves were opened at Sidi Ifni for the first time to mark World Water Day, March 22. Ever since, "92 households, or nearly 400 people," have enjoyed running water at home, says Mounir Abbar, the project's technical manager.

Aissa Derhem, the president of the "Dar Si Hamed for development, education
 and culture" association touches a fog fence in a hamlet on the outskirts of the
southern coastal city of Sidi Ifni, on June 7, 2015 (AFP Photo/Fadel Senna)

"Morocco has a lot of fog because of three phenomena: the presence of an anticyclone from the Azores (north Atlantic islands), a cold air current and a mountainous obstacle," Derhem says.

The mesh that traps water is "merely an imitation of nature," he adds, pointing out how spiders have always caught minute droplets of water in their webs.

"This is ecological and enables us to look after the regional water table, which we have been emptying away," Derhem says.

The scheme will be extended to other villages and, in time, advocates hope, to other parts of the country.

In the village of Douar Id Achour, residents are proud of their new taps, for good reason. Women and children used to spend an average of four hours a day on a round trip to a well, even longer in dry summer.

"I filled two 20-litre (5.3-gallon) containers four times a day," says Massouda Boukhalfa, 47. "But even those 160 litres wasn't enough for us, because we have cattle as well."

'Ready for export'

During droughts, water was carried in by tanker trunk. "That took a fortnight and cost 150 dirhams (13.7 euros), $15.6) for 5,000 litres on average," young resident Houcine Soussane recalls.

According to Dar Si Hmad, 7,000 litres of fog water cost three times less than before, even with a fee of 20 dirhams to each household for the right to a counter.

Thick fog is trapped by finely meshed panels and relayed it to a network of pipes
(AFP Photo/Fadel Senna)

Villagers today have more time to collect the nutty fruit of argan trees and extract its prized and potentially lucrative oil, used in cooking, skin care and easing arthritis. Reputed as an anti-ageing product, argan oil has been taken up abroad as an ingredient in high-end cosmetics.

"Our women and daughters no longer wear themselves out. They go to school and are safe," 54 year-old villager Lahcen Hammou Ali sums up. "With the time saved, we can pay for water all year by producing a bottle of argan oil."

DSH next wants to supply fog water to as many villages as possible in the area. It also plans to replace mesh in the panels with a new variety that can resist wind speeds of 120 kilometres per hour (75 mph).

The panels were perfected on Moroccan soil with help from the German charity Wasserstiftung, and successfully passed the testing phase.

"The nets are now ready for export to other towns in Morocco, in all the mountainous regions and along the seafront," Derham says, hopeful they can be deployed in all highland areas where fogbanks are frequent.

Related Article:


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Robot to 3D-print steel canal bridge in Amsterdam

Yahoo – AFP, 16 June 2015

An artist’s visualisation of the 3D bridge which a Dutch company is planning
to print across an Amsterdam canal (AFP Photo/Joris Laarman)

The Hague (AFP) - A Dutch startup has unveiled plans to build the world's first 3D-printed bridge across an Amsterdam canal, a technique that could become standard on future construction sites.

Using robotic printers "that can 'draw' steel structures in 3D, we will print a (pedestrian) bridge over water in the centre of Amsterdam," engineering startup company MX3D said in a statement, hoping to kick off the project by September.

The plan involves robotic arm printers 'walking' across the canal as it slides along the bridge's edges, essentially printing its own support structure out of thin air as it moves along.

Specially-designed robotic arms heat the metal to a searing 1,500 degrees Celsius (around 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit) to painstakingly weld the structure drop-by-drop, using a computer programme to plot the sophisticated design.

"The underlying principle is very simple. We have connected an advanced welding machine to an industrial robot arm," said the bridge's designer Joris Laarman.

"We now use our own intelligent software to operate these machines so they can print very complex metal shapes which can differ each time," Laarman said of the project also involving the Heijmans construction company and Autodesk software.

So far, the robotic arm has been used to print smaller metal structures, but the bridge will be the first ever large-scale deployment of the technology, MX3D spokeswoman Eva James told AFP.

It is hoped that the bridge will be a first step towards seeing the technique used on construction sites, especially those involving dangerous tasks such as on high buildings, she said.

The technique also removes the need for scaffolding as the robot arms use the very structure they print as support.

The designers are now in talks with the Amsterdam city council to find a site for the project which they hope will be completed by mid-2017.

"I strongly believe in the future of digital manufacturing and local production," said Laarman. "It's a new form of craftsmanship."

"This bridge can show how 3D printing has finally entered the world of large-scale functional objects and sustainable materials," he said.

Amsterdam city council spokeswoman Charlene Verweij told AFP the Dutch capital was supporting the project.

"We are still in negotiations as to where exactly the bridge will be built," she said.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Government to Install Solar Panels at DPR, Presidential Palace

JakartaGlobe, Dion Bisara, Jun 15, 2015

The government plans to install solar panels at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta,
Bogor Palace, the House of Representatives and the office of the Coordinating
Ministry of Economic Affairs. (AFP Photo/Cesar Manso)

Jakarta. The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources plans to auction Rp 34 billion ($2.6 million) worth of rooftop solar panels for government and public buildings this year.

The ministry is conducting a study on several buildings and airports in order to determine the demand for electricity and the layout of the solar panels, said Maritje Hutapea, director of renewable energy at the ministry over the weekend.

The government plans to install solar panels at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Bogor Palace, the House of Representatives and the office of the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Solar panels will also be installed at several airports, including Tambulaka, Maumere and Labuan Bajo, all of which are in East Nusa Tenggara. Surabaya city government has also expressed an interest in installing solar panels on the roof of its building.

State utility company Perusahaan Listrik Negara will buy any excess electricity from the solar panels, Maritje said.

Investor Daily

Friday, May 15, 2015

Safety standards criticized after Philippines fire kills dozens

Authorities in the Philippines say charges will be laid over the deaths of more than 70 people in a Manila footwear factory. Health and safety standards in the country are again under the microscope.

Deutsche Welle, 14 May 2015


The fire killed at least 72 people when it ripped through a two-storey rubber slipper factory on Wednesday. Investigators believe sparks from welding equipment ignited nearby flammable chemicals, triggering a huge explosion.

Firefighters have spent Thursday pulling charred bones from the ruins. Police say charges will be brought against those responsible.

"Someone will definitely be charged because of the deaths. It doesn't matter if it's an accident, people died. Right now, we are investigating to clearly define what happened. For sure, someone will be charged," said national police chief Leonardo Espina.

Espina added that arson investigators were helping police in their inquiries.

Windows covered to prevent 'even cats from escaping'

The building was located in the rundown district of Valenzuela, on the northern edge of Manila, among a long line of factories. A relative of four people employed at the factory said windows were heavily reinforced.

Dionesio Candido, said iron grills and fencing wire covered windows on the second floor that "could prevent even cats from escaping."

Candido said he was allowed by authorities to enter the building, where he saw charred remains "piled on top of each other."

"When I saw them, [I felt] any parent or sibling would not be able to identify the victims," he told news agency Reuters.

Survivors say workers toiled for below the minimum wage, were not taught or made aware of safety standards, and had to work near foul-smelling chemicals. Some said they were only able to escape because they were near one of the building's few exits.

"I had never been involved in a fire drill ever," said Janet Victoriano, a five-year employee who said she left by the front door when the blaze started.

Fires are relatively common in the Philippines, where safety regulations are lax. Wednesday's incident showed the government was not doing enough, one analyst said.
"The factory fire is a blow to the [President Benigno] Aquino administration, which has prided itself on improving workplace conditions and prioritizing compliance with labor standards," said Eufracia Taylor, Asia analyst at global risk analytics firm Verisk Maplecroft.

jr/msh (Reuters, AFP)

Monday, May 4, 2015

China-constructed buildings withstand strong quakes in Nepal

English.news.cn, 2015-05-02, Editor: huaxia

The photo shows the Civil Service Hospital of Nepal constructed by China in
Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, after the 7.9-magnitude quake on April 25, 2015.
(Photo source: People's Daily)

KATHMANDU, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Tens of thousands of historic and civilian buildings were ruined when a 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25. But local people have discovered that all buildings funded and constructed by China in the capital of Kathmandu remain nearly undamaged.

So far China has financed and built three major projects for Nepal in Kathmandu -- a hospital for civil servants, a training center for traditional medicine and a research center for nature conservation.

All of them have remained almost completely intact after the quake, with only minor damages to surfaces or several insignificant parts of the buildings, said Zeng Huacheng, vice director of the Department of Outward Investment and Economic Cooperation under China's Ministry of Commerce, in an interview with media this week.

The photo shows a training center for traditional medicine constructed by China
 in Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, after the 7.9-magnitude quake on April 25, 2015.
(Photo source:People's Daily)

What's more, the Kathmandu Stadium, which China helped Nepal repair and maintain, has also withstood the powerful and devastating quakes all these days, only sustaining minor damages to its main gate, entrance and stands, Zeng said.

The same applied to a China-built technical school in another Nepalese city during the historic destructive quakes, he said, adding that the Nepalese side has expressed satisfaction and appreciation to China for the good quality of the aid projects.

Zeng attributed the resilience of the buildings that were funded and constructed by China to high standards for seismic-resistance, smart designs adapted to local conditions and a strong sense of responsibility on the Chinese part.



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.

GlobeAsia

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sumba Renewable Energy: A Bright Future Where the Lights Don’t Go Out

Jakarta Globe, Basten Gokkon,  Apr 10, 2015

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

Waingapu, Sumba. Five years ago, Dorkas Manuhuluk, a Sumbanese headmistress, would ask her staff to ride a bike for 45 minutes to a neighboring village just to make copies of question sheets for her students.

“It’d be free if we used our own motorcycle, but we don’t own one. We’d call an ojek [motorcycle taxi] which costs Rp 50,000 ($3.80) for one trip,” said Dorkas, who currently heads Praimarada Elementary School in Umamanu village, one-and -a-half hours’ drive southwest of Waingapu — the biggest city in East Sumba district, East Nusa Tenggara.

Markus Karepi Muama, a teacher at Praimarada, said sixth graders would light kerosene lamps as they stayed overnight at the school, studying for an upcoming national examination.

“For a whole month ahead of national exam, we teach and repeat as much material as possible with the students every evening,” said Markus.

Meanwhile, farmers in East Sumba  district’s two neighboring villages — Rakawatu and Kondamara, located some 70 kilometers west of Waingapu — would often stop growing and harvesting paddies during an unusually long dry season on the island.

“During the dry season, we would pump the water from a nearby spring,” said Made Raspita, one of the farmers.

“For a long while, we would use diesel as fuel for the water pump generator, regardless its skyhigh price,” he added.

Affected by the hot, dry air from the deserts of Northern Australia, Sumba — one of the southernmost islands in the archipelago — does not receive nearly as much rainfall as the islands to the north.

November to March is the rainy season for Sumba, while the sun shines on the island during the rest of the year. This means farmers consume massive amount of diesel to run the water pump generator to help the irrigation system.

Electricity shortage

In 2010, researchers from two international nongovernmental organizations, Hivos and Winrock, released a study that found less than 25 percent of Sumba’s 686,000 residents have access to electricity at home.

Researchers also discovered the electricity used by the locals in Sumba was heavily sourced from non-renewable energy, such as diesel and kerosene, which is shipped in from outside the island, resulting in higher operational costs.

State electric utility PLN has cited Sumba’s relatively sparse population as the reason the firm remains reluctant to install a more robust electrical grid to electrify the island’s remote villages.

“It costs about Rp 300 million per kilometer of electrical extension grid.”

“It’s too costly for us considering the small amount of people that will use the electricity,” Khairullah, area manager of PLN in Sumba, told The Jakarta Globe on Tuesday.

When the Jakarta Globe visited Praimarada Elementary School on Monday, the nearest electricity pole to the school was some five kilometers away — one that also looked questionably functional.

Meanwhile, the last standing electricity pole on the road leading to Rakawatu and Kondamara was about 40 minutes away from the two villages.

Since March 2011, PLN has instead provided remote villages across the archipelago with energy-saving lamps, known locally as Sehen, which are sources of artificial light that reduce the amount of electricity drawn from the local grid, since they are connected to a solar panel.

These lamps can stay lit for about six hours.

The light at the end of the tunnel

Joint research from the two NGOs found that Sumba is rich in renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, water and biomass.

Hivos and Winrock then chose Sumba as the island to launch it’s ambitious project — for the island’s entire population to gain access to electricity generated from renewable energy by 2025.

The project called “Sumba Iconic Island” was launched in 2010 with the full support of Indonesia’s Energy Ministry and the PLN in Sumba.

Drawing global attention. In May 2013, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) committed $1 million to support the technical side of the project.

The Norwegian Embassy in Indonesia then joined in October 2013, funding 600,000 euros ($644,000) for the program.

“This program strives for humanity sovereignty. And energy is important for people,” Stig Traavik, Norway’s ambassador to Indonesia, told the Jakarta Globe when asked why the embassy decided to partake in the project.

“Norway as a nation that cares about the environment, clean energy and resources of the future, this is a program where it all comes together — including poverty reduction. This is an illustration of what we would like to continue doing,” he added.

Fruitful and promising result

Four years after the program was launched, some areas of Sumba have experienced the same, abundant benefits from power plants that operate on renewable energy.

In April last year, a 1.5 kilowatt-hour (kWh)  solar panel was installed at Praimarada Elementary School, providing full electricity for the school’s administrative and teaching activities.

“If we want to make copies of something, we can just print it out now with our own printer. We’re spending much less money this way,” said Dorkas.

“If we receive study books late from the distributor, we can ask for the softcopy and print them out.”

“When we’re doing the preparation activity ahead of the national exam, students can now learn under sufficient lighting and we’ve stopped using kerosene lamps,” Markus added.

Across the island

Residents at other villages also said they have had a great results since power plants run with renewable energy sources were built and began operating at their villages a couple of years ago.

“The power generator can provide electricity for the whole village,” said Umbu Tamu, leader of a small management team for a biomass power plant at Rakawatu, which has capacity of 50 kilovolt-amperes.

“We’ve stopped using diesel since the water pump generator is now running on solar energy.”

“The generator can water our paddy and vegetable field,” Made said, referring to a solar panel installation set up two years ago for supplement the village’s water pump generator. It can supply up to 80,000 liters of water.

During a visit to several project sites in East Sumba district earlier this week, Energy Minister Sudirman Said and Norwegian Ambassador Stig praised the successes of the villages.

“One of Jokowi’s management programs is how to reach energy sovereignty. I think this is one of the ways that can and will expedite energy sovereignty in the country,” Sudirman told the Jakarta Globe.

“I see a great potential in Sumba. I think it would be inspiring, not only for the population here but also for Indonesia if Sumba is able to reach this goal of becoming 100 percent on renewable energy,” said Stig.

Whose responsibility?

Modern technology needs proper and periodical maintenance, which can require a massive amount of budget.

These power plants, however, are considered an off-grid electricity system, meaning it is not part of any electrical grids that are operated and monitored by the PLN.

“The PLN can only do maintenance for the on-grid system. But, we would be more than happy if there’s a regulation that lets us do maintenance for the off-grid as well,” said Khairullah.

As of now, the villages and school appoint one person from a small committee to do regular monitoring of the power plants.

The electricity has become a source of income for the villages as it is sold off to the public.

For instance, Praimarada Elementary School charges anyone from neighboring villages who wishes to use electricity for personal purposes, Rp 1,000 per use.

“People mostly come to charge their mobile phone,” Markus said.

“The money that we collect is entered into a book, and when the equipment needs service, we can use the bulk that we have.”

Praimarada’s solar panel operates on six batteries that can last for up to five years at a cost of Rp 2 million each, according to Sandra

Winarsa, program officer for sustainable energy at Hivos Regional Office Southeast Asia.

A similar fee-collecting system has also been adopted in the village of Rakawatu, where households that own television sets are charged Rp 50,000 per month and those who only use the electricity for lighting pay Rp 35,000 monthly, Tamu said.

“The monthly fee is not that much. But, that’s how much we can contribute from our income,” Tamu added.

“We don’t receive any funding from outside to help operational expenses. If the government could help us with the maintenance cost, then that would be great.”

Sudirman said the people could request funds from the regional government should they need to fix or replace parts of the power plants.

“If the residents need a huge amount of funds for maintenance, they can ask the regional government through the DAK [specific allocation fund] program.”

“It is permitted by the ministry to use the funds to substitute old units,” the energy minister told the Jakarta Globe.

Sudirman added that he would evaluate the energy subsidy in the state budget to also help people who generate electricity from renewable-energy based power plants.

“It is our homework and this is something that needs to be reviewed so that energy subsidy can be fair and even for everyone,” he said.

“The subsidy could be also by providing seed funds to help set up the power plants.”

Where’s next after Sumba?

Sudirman said he would form a special committee to help the ministry frame a nationwide blueprint for power plants that operate on renewable energy.

“The committee will also help push [Sumba] to expedite its target — if possible by 2020 — in becoming an example of an island in Indonesia that completely uses renewable energy,” Sudirman said.

“There is not yet a developed industry [in Indonesia] for renewable energy.”

“It will be soon enough we require more equipment [to support renewable energy].”

“It is then important to educate the people that renewable energy is our future,” he added.

Sudirman also believed Sumba could be a living example for other areas across the country, saying that the next government must put forward the interest of renewable energy in the country above all else.

“Do not mix politics with energy development. Political interests do not last forever, but energy development does and it takes a long time. It also requires a technical approach,” he said.

“There are many other areas in the country similar to Sumba. Should the renewable energy goal be achieved, it will be an easy example to duplicate in other areas.”

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