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. …”

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

East Flood Canal to reach sea within days

Indah Setiawati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 12/29/2009 8:29 PM

Governor Fauzi Bowo on Tuesday announced the East Flood Canal (BKT) would reach the sea on Dec. 31.

“As we have promised, on Dec. 31, the BKT will connect with the sea. But we have to admit that there are certain spots that haven't reached the required width,” he said on Tuesday.

Head of the Ciliwung-Cisadane Flood Bureau at the Public Works Ministry, Pitoyo Subandrio, confirmed the information, saying the width at some parts of the canal was still 15 meters from the required 70 meters width.

He said the areas needing widening were at the Kali Sunter bridge in East Jakarta, Pahlawan Revolusi bridge, ex-the power substation, Pondok Kopi, Haji Miran, Rawa Bebek and Marunda in North Jakarta.

The unfinished areas, he said, would not hinder the flow of water to the sea as the depth of the locations had reached four to seven meters.

“We have pushed the contractors to connect the canal to the sea by the end of December to mitigate the annual flood in January,” Pitoyo said.

He said the construction of the East Flood Canal was 96.5 percent complete, with the inspection roads, bridges and wire fence as the remaining projects.

He believed the contractors would finish the rest of the project before their contract term finished in June because the city had settled the hardest part – the land procurement – on Dec. 18.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Editorial: PLN, Infrastructure Hold Key to Progress

PLN’s troubles are a microcosm of the problems facing the country’s creaking infrastructure. (JG Photo/Safir Makki)

Perhaps one of the most defining events of 2009 was the large-scale power shortages that plagued Jakarta. The rolling blackouts, which followed an explosion at the central transmission facility of state power company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara in Cawang in late September, underlined just how far behind the company had fallen in its ability to meet the country’s power needs.

Over the past decade, PLN’s aging infrastructure has been unable to cope with the increasing demand on the national grid. Outages have become so frequent that the economy is under threat. Potential investors have shied away from building new manufacturing plants in Indonesia for fear of inadequate power supply.

PLN’s troubles are a microcosm of the problems facing the country’s creaking infrastructure. These problems have been well documented but the solutions still seem to be out of reach. Our roads are clogged, our ports and airports unable to cope and our connectivity and communications are inferior to other countries in the region.

Improving infrastructure is vital, not only for the country’s economic competitiveness, but also for raising the standard of living for all citizens. Time is of the essence, and we cannot afford to remain stuck in bureaucratic red tape any longer.

For this reason, the appointment of Dahlan Iskan as PLN’s new president director will be closely watched. His biggest challenge and goal is not administrative change, as has been cited in numerous commentaries, but to roll out the planned 10,000-megawatt power project in three to five years. To achieve this seemingly insurmountable task, Dahlan will need to project leadership, exercise political will and mobilize the bureaucracy behind him. Most critically, he will need the full support of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

In the final analysis, Dahlan will not be judged on technical know-how or expertise. He will be judged on one critical task — delivering on the 10,000-megawatt project.

One unique advantage Dahlan has is his close ties with China and Chinese businesses. The Chinese have built infrastructure on a scale not seen before, and there is much Indonesia can learn from them. We must not be hesitant or arrogant in our thinking and willingness to do so.

More important, the Chinese are ready and willing to invest in Indonesia, and Dahlan can act as a natural bridge given his Mandarin language skills and deep understanding of that country.

Dahlan was not chosen to head PLN because of his technocratic abilities, a shortcoming his critics have pointed out. He has been asked to solve Indonesia’s power problems and, given his past record as an entrepreneur and businessman, he has all the necessary qualities to succeed. But he will need the country’s bureaucracy to get behind him and see the big picture.

Friday, December 25, 2009

New PLN leader urged to develop sustainable energy sources

Antara news, Friday, December 25, 2009 12:10 WIB | Economic & Business

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association or HIPMI has asked the newly installed president director of state-owned electricity company PT PLN, Dahlan Iskan, to help accelerate development of sustainable energy sources.

Hipmi chairman Erwin Aksa said in a press release on Thursday that PLN`s new top leadership was expected to show their competence in managing the company not only by preventing the recurrence of blackouts in all parts of Indonesia but also by enabling PLN to contribute to national economic development.

"It is impossible to carry out development without energy. So PLN must be able to help spur development," Erwin said, adding that the electric services trend in all countries whose economies are strong rely on the sufficiency and accessibilty of electricity apart from budget and efficient bureaucracy services.

Hipmi also believed that Dahlan Iskan was facing a great challenge because Indonesia would have to deal with very tight competition under the Asean-China Free Trade Agreement (AC-FTA) that would come into force in early 2010.

"Whether or not Indonesia will be successful in facing China will highly depend on the availability of electricity. China has no problem with electricity, what about us," Erwin said.

Dahlan Iskan was installed as PLN president director by the State Enteprises Minister Mustafa Abubakar on Wednesday (Dec.23) to replace Fahmi Muchtar.

Minister Mustafa Abubakar said at a press conference after inaugurating the new PLN board here on Wednesday that the newly-installed management of PLN is to save up to Rp15 trillion in expenditures by cutting fuel oil use by as much as 35 percent.

"The cut in fuel oil use will be one of the radical concepts Dahlan Iskan has offered," the minister said.

"The concept is good and radical. The concept is about empowering PLN now and in the future," he said.

Abubakar added that Dahlan had pledged leaps in the handling of the company.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Jakarta 2030: Public input needed

Evi Mariani, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 12/24/2009 10:10 AM

What will Jakarta be like in 2030? Would you entrust the future to city officials or would you want a say yourself?

Several urban activists who live in and love Jakarta gathered Wednesday at Tarumanagara University (Untar) in West Jakarta to emphasize that they should have a say in shaping the city’s future.

They claimed the city administration had compiled a document called RTRW (spatial planning) Jakarta 2010-2030 with almost no input from the public. The 2007 Spatial Planning Law stipulates that public participation is required when designing a city masterplan, but the administration has clearly failed to adhere to this law.

“They said they would have a campaign publicizing the planning draft to the people, but I have not heard any announcement or news on this,” Elisa Sutanudjaja, an architecture lecturer at Pelita Harapan University said.

Suryono Herlambang, a spatial planning lecturer at Untar, which hosted the meeting, said the city’s Regional Planning Agency (Bappeda) invited him in November to discuss the masterplan draft, but he found it to be lacking.

“What they meant by public participation is presenting us with the highly technical draft and asking for our opinions,” Herlambang said.

He said, as a spatial planning expert, even he could not immediately grasp the draft details.

“Even non-technical people should be able to envisage Jakarta in 2030,” Sri Palupi, the director of the Institute for Ecosoc Rights, said.

Bappeda has created the website where people can download the plan. However, Irvan Pulungan from the Indonesian Center from Environmental Law said not all resident had access to the Internet.

The website was set up in the third week of December, and Elisa said she received information that Bappeda were accepting emails from the public at until Jan. 10.

Herlambang said the contents of the plan itself seemed to pose a lot of problems that residents should scrutinize. Compared to 2030 masterplans for Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, New York City and London, Herlambang said Jakarta’s plan lacked vision.

Sydney planners, for example, stated in a separate “Vision Book” that they wanted a “sustainable city,” a city “with walkable streets,” “which celebrates outdoor life,” “which is not clogged by cars.”

Palupi added that Jakarta’s masterplan clearly lacked a human aspect as it included no mention of people or the demographic makeup of Jakarta.

Elisa said the masterplan had conflicting ideas. She said it included plans to build toll roads, which would encourage private car use but on the other hand, it planned a “park and ride” system, which suggested a well-planned public transportation.

Following the two hour discussion, the participants, comprising around a dozen people concerned with issues such as the environment, the economy, society, habitat, and urban poor, agreed they should help the city increase public participation.

They said they would scrutinize the masterplan and meet again on Jan. 7 to highlight problems and offer solutions.

Marco Kusumawijaya from the community said participants accepted the 2030 masterplan was important, therefore they wanted to participate in shaping it. “We are concerned and we want to say, please take a look at New York, Melbourne and Sydney,” he said. “We want to be involved and we will do this with energy and courage.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Colombia's 'Bamboo' architect wins Prince Claus Prize

"Stronger than oak, lighter than steel", was the headline - in Dutch newspaper Trouw - above a picture of Colombia's 'bamboo' architect, Simón Vélez. He was recently awarded the main 2009 Prince Claus Prize for his designs using bamboo. The prize provides an opportunity for him to introduce his work to the Netherlands. Plans to construct an open-air podium in North Amsterdam are already at an advanced stage.

Mr Vélez combines modern architecture with traditional building materials. He has designed over 200 buildings using bamboo. Most of them are in Colombia, but his work can also be seen in Brazil and even India and China.

The Prince Claus Fund says Simón Vélez' work promotes sustainable development, introducing new ideas on ecological issues and questions. The citation describes him as an architect "whose aesthetic and technical innovations have considerably expanded the possibilities of bamboo as a building material, providing a challenge to prevailing architectural trends".

Bamboo is native to nearly all the world's continents, with the exception of Europe. It is lighter than steel and stronger than concrete. In addition, bamboo constructions have been shown to withstand earthquakes better and to be more energy efficient than other buildings.

Two Workers Killed, 11 Injured in Tanah Abang Building Collapse

The Jakarta Globe, Arientha Primanita & Kinanti Pinta Karana

Rescue workers scour the rubble of a part of Metro Tanah Abang which collapsed while under construction on Wednesday. (Photo: Yudhi Sukma Wijaya, JG)

Two workers have been killed and eleven others were injured after a part of a building under construction collapsed in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta, on Wednesday morning.

The extension to Metro Tanah Abang mall, part of the large market complex in the area, collapsed at 10:20 a.m. The extension was being built to accommodate extra toilets and was located near a loading dock where many trucks and vehicles pass through to load cargo. Work had been taking place on the site for the past four months.

So far, 11 people and two bodies had been evacuated from the ruins. The victims have been taken for treatment at Tarakan Hospital, Jakarta Hospital, the Navy Hospital and Kebon Kacang public health center.

The evacuation process was now complete because search and rescue teams believed there were no other people trapped. Police were processing the scene.

The two men who was killed have been identified only as Hamid and Iwan. Their bodies have been taken to Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital.

A witness named Afrizal said that he saw four construction workers who were injured.

“I gave water to one of the victims,” Afrizal said.

Central Jakarta Police Chief Sr. Comr. Hamidin told Metro TV that the evacuation team had to move very carefully because there were other parts of the construction site that were on the brink of collapsing.

“The top parts of the structure were already showing signs of collapsing, we can’t take any risks,” Hamidin said.

Crowds of people gathering to look at the collapse were hampering the evacuation process, Metro TV reported.

Central Jakarta Mayor Sylviana Murni told reporters that the construction work had no permit.

“We have accurate information from P2B (Property Control and Building Monitoring agency) that the aditional building had no permit. We will tear down the rest of the building this afternoon,” Sylviana said.

She said that the management of the building had not reported the extension to authorities.

Cucu Ahmad Kurnia, the city spokesman, said that the building’s management was responsible for the incident.

“We might take this through the legal process,” he said.

Central Jakarta Police Chief Sr. Comr. Hamidin said building management could be charged under Chapter 359 of the Criminal Code on carelessness that causes injury or death to others. The violation carries a punishment of up to five years in prison.

Wednesday’s incident was not the first time a building in the complex collapsed. In 2004, the Block A building at Tanah Abang market collapsed because of heavy vibrations from an excavator machine tearing down a neighboring building. One person was killed and 12 others were injured in the incident.

Related Articles:

Forensic team investigates collapsed building in Jakarta

Invalid Scaffolding, The Cause of Tanah Abang Collapse

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The city of tomorrow may be built on water

NRC Handelsblad, by Tracy Metz, 22 December 2009 15:27

A computer rendering of the 'Citadel' building which will soon arise in The Hague's hinterland/ Photo:

A Dutch architect imagines entire cities being built in water. In The Hague’s hinterland, this vision will soon become reality.

Save the world, build on water, that is Koen Olthuis’ core business in a nutshell. His architectural studio designs waterborne schools, parks, roads and houses, pretty much anything actually.

Waterborne structures are easy to move. Once they are required elsewhere, a push and a tug suffice for a change of scenery.

Olthuis has even coined a term for it: ‘scarless development.’ A method of urban planning that makes for truly dynamic cities. Waterborne structures are not only useful to adapt to the fickle demands of citizens, they are also flexible enough to deal with the changing climate.

Time Magazine named Olthuis as one of the most influential people in the world in 2007. But he has been greeted with "typically Dutch" scepticism at home. His vision of the future is by no means utopian, the architect said sitting in his office in Rijswijk, a suburb of The Hague. Olthuis feels his designs are very realistic.

Fata morganas in Dubai

His first clients were the ambitious and - then - very rich project developers of Dubai. At their request, Olthuis designed floating islands shaped like verses of Arabic poetry, a waterborne rotating tower hotel, and villas situated on the famous Palm Islands. The sky was the limit. Was, since none of these projects have actually been realised yet. “One project that still stands a good chance of being built is a floating mosque. The building is very energy efficient as it uses seawater for cooling and translucent pillars let in natural light,” Olthuis said.

The Dubai-fantasies were mostly a way for to establish its credentials. Today, the studio directs its efforts at tackling a fundamental issue many cities worldwide face. A problem made worse by the changing climate. “By 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Since approximately 90 percent of the world’s largest cities are located on the waterfront, we need to find new ways of dealing with water in a manmade environment,” Olthuis said. “We have to plan for change.”

Olthuis believes in a future where ten percent of the planet’s urban water surface will serve as a foundation for waterborne buildings. Floating real estate will prove particularly attractive where building space is scarce. Olthuis envisions Lego-like urban architecture, with floating modules that need only be clicked onto their new moorings after being pulled to a new waterfront destination.

As a partner in the company Dutch Docklands, Olthuis has been party to the design of a new type of floating foundation: a concrete slab with a polystrene core. The material can easily be mass produced and allows for straightforward construction. This waterborne ‘carpet’ can serve as a foundation for sporting grounds, schools, or anything else required. The buildings can be removed as easily as they were built. Olthuis believes temporary structures are the way of the future. “Urban architects like to see themselves as God, building for all eternity. The reality is that buildings are being used for ever shorter time spans,” he said.

Water: pretty and practical

The architect feels water has become too much of an aesthetic consideration in urban areas. The Dutch historic canals have been reduced to an aquafied part of real estate agents’ sales pitches.“Only two generations ago water was used as a means of transportation,” Olthuis said. In many cities, most famously Amsterdam, local canal networks served as a backbone of local infrastructure. But waterborne construction should not be seen as a faddish plaything for urban planners, Olthuis warned. He cited the recent construction of a floating neighbourhood in Rotterdam’s historic port – only reachable by boat – as an example of waterborne architecture gone awry. In Rotterdam, living on water is presented as a niche market, catering only to a happy few. “Solutions need to have a permanent character. It should not be ‘special’ to build on water,” Olthuis said. “It will only become accepted as a construction method once it offers the same comfort durability as construction on land as the same price. Technically, we are already there, but the image still needs changing.”

Practical matters also need to be tended to. Waterborne construction requires clear and consistent regulations for all sorts of things, including insurance, financing, water, gas and electricity hook-ups, acceptable levels of water pollution and legal aspects.

Olthuis has built 50 floating homes since he founded in 2003, together with business partner Rolf Peters. Their oeuvre ranges from an ‘amphibian’ villa in the country, to two houses on a newly constructed island near Amsterdam. Olthuis has only recently started working on his first large scale project in the Netherlands which he hope will prove the viability of his ideas. His studio is designing the urban layout for 80 hectares of reclaimed land in the hinterland of The Hague that will soon be re-flooded. Half of the 1,200 houses planned will be built on land, the other half on water. It is the first project of its scale and kind in the Netherlands.

“Floating is not dogma,” Olthuis said. “We only use it were it makes sense economically or practically. This project is our testing ground for a construction method well suited to the Netherlands wet, marshy landscape.”

(Photo: Koen Olthuis)

Related Articles:

Shanghai Morning Post's eyes on Dutch water architects

Consequences of Climate Change and Flood Protection

Dutch learn to live with, instead of fight, rising seas

Four workers found dead in Jakarta sewer

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 12/22/2009 3:49 PM

Four men working to clean part of a sewer in Kampung Melayu in East Jakarta were found dead on Tuesday. Authorities suspect the men were trapped by water inside the sewer and suffocated.

“They died inside the sewer,” Timur Munadi, chief of East Jakarta Fire Agency, told reporters as quoted by

Timur said there were five workers in the group, one of them survived.

The men began cleaning the 1.5-meter diameter sewer pipe around 9 a.m. and were found dead at 10:30 a.m. inside the sewer in Kali Baru, Gunung Antang.

The bodies were evacuated in the afternoon and have been taken to Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital for autopsy

Jakarta 2012

The Jakarta Post, Damar Harsono, Jakarta | Mon, 12/21/2009 12:38 PM | Review & Outlook

JP/Ricky Yudhistira

Some time at the end of 2012, former Jakarta governor Fauzi Bowo is watching TV at home.

The TV is running live the footage of a peaceful and successful direct governor election in Jakarta where the newly-elected Governor is giving HER inaugural speech.

Her? Yes. She is the first woman ever to become the governor of Jakarta.

She opens her speech with her gratitude to the former governor and deputy governor.

“My fellow residents of Jakarta, I want to thank former governor Fauzi Bowo and his deputy Prijanto since I have inherited a metropolis, which is a testament to a round of successes and a plethora of accomplished missions,” she says.

“Look around you. Few private cars are now running on the city’s streets and we enjoy clear and clean air! He [Fauzi] managed to phase old cars, buses and vehicles out of the city and to consistently impose strict bylaws on emissions after he found that in 2008 and 2009 the traffic in the city was getting worse while the city’s air was getting heavily polluted due to vehicular emissions,” says the governor, who has a doctorate, like Fauzi.

“He [Fauzi] heeded the call of most pundits on city transport: limit the number of vehicles and improve public transport! And, it works wonder!” she says.

“He has completed the full tilt operation of the Transjakarta busway routes and improved the feeder services, not to mention building car parks in the most strategic locations to allow the passengers to have a park-and-ride lifestyle,” she says.

“After the Transjakarta project was nearly all put on hold in 2008 and 2009 following the unending feuds with the operators, the administration under Pak Fauzi had fired on all cylinders to settle the problems and worked out the rest of the routes besides improving services, and solving the problems which had been on every passenger’s list of complaints: to organize integration of the network with other means of transport, provide comfy buses and reliable schedules,” she says.

JP/P.J. Leo

“And, now we have more good news. MRT construction has reached 90 percent thanks to the administration’s initiative under governor Fauzi to speed up the development of mass transport that is well integrated with the Transjakarta,” she says.

The newly installed governor then goes on with addressing issues on the perennial problem of the city: Floods.

“Floods are now out of the question,” she says.

“The administration has learnt well from the tragedy of the Situ Gintung dam burst that killed 100 and flattened hundreds of homes in March 2009. Angered by slow reactions and lack of proactive moves from relevant authorities including the central government and Tangerang administration in the aftermath of the disaster in 2009, he took the lead in commanding the coordination process and made all the agencies work hard. He even ordered massive development of water catchment areas in the city, as he did in 2009 with the conversion of 27 filling stations into parks, in order to bring the number of areas prone to flooding down to zero today from 99 flood-crisis-spots in 2009 and 78 flood-crisis-spots in 2008,” she explains.

“He coordinated very well with the authorities in Greater Jakarta to restore lakes and dams, bring down villas in Puncak and finish the East Flood Canal project,” she adds.

“As he required all households to build water catchment wells and biopores, so water crises are no longer a concern in the capital,” she says.

“He also imposed stern sanctions on those using groundwater and required all households to use tap water while his administration paid more serious attention in cooperation with partners to supply sufficient potable water for residents.

After Madame Governor finished her speech, her running mate, took her turn to give her speech.

Her again? Yes, the deputy governor, too, is the first woman deputy governor of the city.

“We are pleased to announce that our city has now become a service city, something, which was introduced by governor Fauzi-Prijanto’s administration since 2009. And, that’s not lip service.

Currently, there is certainty in doing business and legal protection to all businesses,” says the deputy governor, who is herself a businesswoman.

“Unlike in 2009 where most businesses suffered big losses due to unending power blackouts, we currently enjoy reliable electricity supply thanks to intensified cooperation between the administration and state-power company PT PLN to crack down on illegal power thefts coupled with a series of good campaigns to save energy in public as well as private buildings along with requirements to use environmentally friendly materials for high rise,” she says.

“The administration under Pak Fauzi and Prijanto has been consistent to do what they started in 2009 to seal off homes, which had been converted into business premises in Menteng, Kebayoran Baru and Pondok Indah and other areas.

They have upheld strictly the zoning system that rules on areas for housing and businesses and showed no favoritism in their iron fist approach,” she says.

“In short, the administration sticks to what it plans in the spatial master plan 2010-2020,” she says.

The author is a staff writer at The Jakarta Post.

Reducing the vulnerability of our electricity supply system

The Jakarta Post, Hanan Nugroho, Jakarta | Mon, 12/21/2009 11:49 AM | Review & Outlook

JP/R. Berto Wedhatama

Electricity shortages, blackouts and brownouts have become common phenomena in Indonesia, including in the capital Jakarta recently.

Elsewhere in Indonesia, including world-class oil- and coal-producing regions like East Kalimantan and Riau, electricity shortages have long been an ironic truth for the local people.

An electricity shortage is actually a phenomenon which can be predicted long before it happens.

Securing operation (mainly for primary energy supply) and securing investment needed to add the coverage of our electricity services are the two key factors that have to be managed prudently if we want to keep the services in this archipelago sustainable. These tasks are quite challenging.

Demand for electricity can be seen simply as a function of economy and the size of the population. As we want to keep our economy growing (our population is increasing naturally), we have to provide electricity to materialize the growth.

State-owned electricity company PT PLN has been doing well in making correlations between the economy and the population, with demand for electricity for all regions in Indonesia. In its annually published “Planning for Electricity Provision”, PLN derives the demand for electricity to the requirement for infrastructure to be built (generators, transmission, sub-stations, etc.) for a 10-year planning horizon.

However, it is difficult for PLN — which has a monopoly on power distribution — to deliver the demanded infrastructure sufficiently. Lack of investment is the main reason. The revenue from selling electricity (with the rate set by the government) is not large enough to cover operational costs; moreover, there is no investment to construct new infrastructures. The government has so far tried to help PLN by participating in investment provision, but the amount it contributes is usually far below that requested.

Since PLN has long had difficulty finding other financing sources, the quantity of electricity infrastructures built lagging behind that actually required.

For instance, up into 2018, PLN will need about US$58.5 billion in investment ($31.7 billion for generators, $14.4 billion for transmission and $12.3 billion for distribution networks), but it is not sure how much and from where the fund can be secured.

Not only that, PLN faces severe investment problems and also operational costs to run its day-to-day machines.

The electricity business basically converts primary energy (coal, diesel, natural gas, water, geothermal, etc.) into electrical energy. The cost of providing primary energy plays a crucial role in the business since it serves as the largest part of costs the utility has to provide as long as its generators operate.

The difficulty here is, while the electricity rate on the downstream side is set by the government, primary energy is supplied from a liberal system far from government control.

Managing a good balance between the liberal system on the upstream side and regulated system on the downstream side is one of the most difficult tasks the PLN management faces.

The fluctuation and trend in fossil fuel prices has put PLN in a more risky position. PLN’s fuel mix — especially in the outer islands — is still dominated by fossil fuels, meaning the volatility of fossil fuel prices (especially that of oil and coal) will directly affect PLN’s vulnerable revenues and its ability to dispatch electricity. PLN’s position is also very weak if it has to compete with external pressures highly demanding Indonesia’s fossil fuels or those who make the commodities more difficult to be found domestically.

However, strategic proposals can be offered to reduce the vulnerability of our electricity supply system.

To address lack of investment, re-inviting private sector participation and developing (central and local) government responsibilities are the major keys. Given the growing constraints, it is impossible that the giant PLN will be able to serve electricity to all parts of this diverse archipelago, which currently operates more than 300 electricity systems.

In a country where access to electricity is still limited, adding infrastructure to the current installed capacity is a task to solve not only by the assigned utility industry (PLN), but also the governments, both central and regional (provincial, regency and municipal), which have to play more active roles.

A system that is more suited to the regional condition (energy sources available locally, rate representing the region’s ability to pay and costs of delivering electricity, etc.) must be developed faster and more widely. The capacity of non-PLN resources (including regional government officers, local businesses and financiers, etc.) to cope with electricity and wider energy issues must be built faster. Not an easy challenge, but Energy Law No. 30/2007 and Electricity Law No. 30/2009 have opened the possibility and instructed to take the job, especially to the regional governments.

Securing primary energy supplies (reducing risk from uncertainty in primary energy prices) can be realized by strategically developing two of our indigenous energy resources: geothermal and natural gas.

Geothermal is clean, not exportable, our reserves are the largest in the world, the share of geothermal in our power mix is still very small (less than 4 percent), its dispatching cost is low while total costs for operating geothermal plants along its economic life can be cheaper and more predictable than that of fossil fuel ones. Taking those factors and our worsening energy security into account, do we still have objections to developing our geothermal at a quicker pace?

Natural gas, like electricity, is a kind of energy requiring (inflexible) infrastructures to be built first before the energy can be delivered to its customers. Compared to oil and coal, which can be transported more easily and flexibly, the inflexibility of natural gas infrastructure is the weak but also the strong characteristic of this energy source.

So far, the natural gas industry in this country has developed infrastructure connecting gas fields in the archipelago with gas consumers abroad in a much more intensive way than the one to support domestic demand. We may now take the adverse way by building much more infrastructure (transmission, distribution) prioritizing our growing demand, which actually costs less than the complex one for export purposes.

Once the infrastructure has been built — as our own experiences in developing large-scale natural gas transmission, particularly in Sumatra, also suggest — it will create more exploration and more natural gas production activities that we may now deliver to feed our power plants. The natural gas infrastructure around major cities, particularly bringing gas to Java, should be given priority to be built first.

The writer is an energy planner and economist with the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas). The opinions expressed are his own.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Handle with care

The Jakarta Post, Mon, 12/21/2009 4:19 PM | Business

A technician repairs a solar-powered generator belonging to PT Tower Bersama Infrastructure in Riau. The firm uses the generator as an alternative device to supply electricity to telecommunication operators in the province. (JP/R. Berto Wedhatama)