RI needs additional 35,000 MW of power

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesia needs up to Rp360 trillion (US$39 billion) in fresh funds to build new power plants capable of producing a total of 35,000 megawatts of power by 2015, a minister says.

Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said Wednesday the plan was part of a government effort to help realize its ambitious plan to provide electricity to every citizen by 2020.

Purnomo said the plan had already been included in the nation's long-term power sector policy, and that the fund would come from the state budget, state electricity firm PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), investors and loans from private lenders.

Although the details are still being discussed, Purnomo made it clear that "the project is not part of the 10,000 MW program".

He was referring to the so-called "crash program", in which PLN plan to build a number of coal-fired power plants to provide an additional power supply of 10,000 MW by the end of 2009.

The government has been intensifying efforts to boost power supplies in a country where almost half of the population do not enjoy a supply of electricity. This condition is exacerbated by the ever-increasing power consumption.

At present, up to 44 percent of the country's population of around 220 million -- mostly located in remote areas -- have no access to electricity.

The country currently produces a total of 29,000 MW.

In addition to the construction of new power plants, the ambitious project would also include the development of 26,000 kilometers of transmission cables and networking facilities, according to PLN president director Eddie Widiono.

The company plans to invite bids next April for the Sumatra and Java power transmission network project.

The transmission network, which will include submarine cables and is estimated to cost $1.2 billion, is expected to be completed in 2011. The project aims to provide people in remote areas in Sumatra with access to electricity from power plants located in Java.
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