The Bali administration said it opposed the development of a power plant it says damages the environment, including the Bali Crossing project that connects the resort island to Java.
"We have adopted a *clean and green Bali' policy. We oppose the use of steam-powered generators because of the resulting pollution," Governor Made Mangku Pastika said Saturday. .
"We should promote the use of gas or other renewable energy such as hydro power and solar energy to keep Bali clean."
Bali Crossing was to have supplied 1,600 megawatts (MW) of electricity from Java to Bali to solve the problem of electricity shortages on the island.
The island currently receives 562 MW from three power plants: 130 MW from Gilimanuk gas-fired power plant, 80 MW from Pemaron gas-fired power plant and 162 MW from Pesanggaran diesel power plant. The island also receives 200 MW from Java via undersea cables.
The supply remains insufficient as the island's electricity load peaks at 495 MW. The power shortage has resulted in regular blackouts.
However, the Bali Crossing has been strongly rejected by the provincial administration because it would pass through West Bali National Park.
There are fears the project could damage the park's ecosystem and threaten the survival of the endangered Bali starling.
"I'm relieved that *state power monopoly* PLN shelved the Bali Crossing project because it posed a threat to the environment. It would also be dangerous for Bali if something happened in Java," Pastika said.
Apart from posing environmental risks, he added, the project was also more costly than building a new power plant.
"I agree with proposals that we build a new gas-fired power plant as it is not noisy or polluting."
Pastika said his administration could not stop the development of the Celukan Bawang power plant in Buleleng, because the project was approved several years ago. The plant is expected to generate 400 MW.
"We will allow the project as long as it uses the latest technology to minimize pollution."
Pastika suggested the use of clean coal technology.
All three power plants currently operating in Bali are expected to eventually be fueled by gas instead of diesel, he said.
Pastika added that he hoped the cancellation of the Bali Crossing project would improve Bali's image as a world class tourist destination.
"We want Bali to have a good image as a tourist destination with good environmental practices."
He said he hoped that visitors to Bali would contribute to preserving the environment.
To counter the energy shortage, PLN subsidiary PT Indonesia Power said it planned to add 80 MW to the capacity of the Pesanggaran plant this year.
The additional capacity will be added in two phases: 30 MW in June and 50 MW in December.
Next year, the company said it planned to increase the capacities of the Gilimanuk and Pemaron plants by 60 and 80 MW respectively.
"We want to increase the capacity to avoid rotating blackouts in Bali," Antonius Reseptyas Hartono, the general manager of Indonesia Power's Bali branch, said.
He said Pesanggaran would be upgraded first because of its strategic location close to the major tourist centers of Kuta, Nusa Dua and Denpasar.
"Pesanggaran has the highest peak load. It supplies large amounts of electricity for tourism, industry and households," Antonius said.