The Jakarta Post
After two years of construction, the long-delayed Celukan Bawang power plant is ready for full operation, providing power-deficient Bali with an additional 380 megawatts (MW) of electricity.
The US$700 million coal power plant project in Celukan Bawang, North Bali, was constructed by China Huadian Engineering Co. Ltd., Merryline International Plt Ltd. (MIP) and PT General Energy Bali (GEB) in a joint investment.
'With the completion of the Celukan Bawang coal power plant, Bali will secure around 1,300 MW of electricity supply,' said Ketut Wija, the assistant for economic development in the Bali provincial government, during the launch ceremony of the power plant on Tuesday afternoon.
'However, with such fast-growing tourism, property and manufacturing sectors, the 5,600 square-kilometer island will need two times the current electricity power supply, estimated at 3,000 MW within the next ten years,' he explained.
Bali's current electricity capacity is around 785 MW, while its peak consumption is around 600 MW.
Around 340 MW of the islands electricity needs are being supplied by Java-based power plants via underwater cables. The remaining supply comes from the Sanggaran power plant in Sanur (370 MW), the Gilimanuk power plant (130 MW) and the Pemaron Power Plant (80MW).
Efforts to boost electricity supply have been on the table with a proposal to build geothermal power plants in the sacred forest reserve called Batu Karu near the Bedugul resort in Tabanan. Balinese Hindus believe the gods of water and fertility reside in the area.
However, local government, religious leaders and environmental activists strongly opposed the plan. Another endeavor is a plan to obtain an additional supply of around 1,600 MW through a new network of power cables to Java under the Bali Crossing Project.
In the last ten years, Bali has been very dependent on electricity from Java. Its frequent blackouts have hampered businesses and investments on the island.
The condition has also forced central and local policy makers to find solutions to this crucial electricity deficit.
'But Bali's provincial administration will only invite investments that come with proposed projects using clean energy sources and technology as part of the island's green and clean campaign,' Wija said, adding that the power plant was one of the examples.
The new plant incorporates desulfurization technology, which minimizes carbon dioxide emissions, according the company that works on the project.
I Ketut Gede Dharma Putra, an environmental expert from the University of Udayana, recently said the power plant still utilized coal despite their claims that their technology was environmentally sound.
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