The Jakarta Post
The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), has launched a US$18 million project to provide access to solar power and clean water in remote parts of Indonesia and Timor-Leste.
The four year project, called ACCESS (Accelerating Clean Energy Access to Reduce Inequality), was funded by KOICA and will benefit about 20,000 people living in the targeted areas of the two countries.
KOICA Indonesia country director Jeong Hoe Jin said the agency was committed to completing the project to ensure access to clean energy and tackle the issue of energy inequality.
“Under the framework of South-South and Triangular Cooperation between Timor-Leste and Indonesia, we will work with the governments of the two countries to create common goals so that the project can make meaningful progress,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
UNDP Indonesia acting chief representative Sophie Kemkhadze said the project would change the lives of thousands of people in remote areas of Eastern Indonesia and Timor-Leste who did not have access to reliable or affordable electricity.
“This project exemplifies the commitment of UNDP, together with KOICA, to reach out to the most deprived populations and reduce inequalities,” Kemkhadze said.
“It is also a climate action, with clean and renewable electricity generated from solar panels,” she added.
More than 10 million Indonesians and some 37,000 families in Timor-Leste lack access to reliable electricity.
In Indonesia, ACCESS will reach 23 villages in West Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara and Central Kalimantan through the construction off-grid solar-PV power plants with a total capacity of 1.2 MWs.
In Timor Leste, the program aims to reach 25 villages in the municipalities of Dili, Manatuto and Bobonaro through the deployment of about 1,000 high-efficiency solar-PV lamps and 10 solar-PV water pumps to provide clean water access.
Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry renewable energy and energy conservation director general FX Sutijastoto commended the project, noting that ACCESS would support the government’s efforts to accelerate electricity development in remote areas.
“This is a strategy to promote new and renewable energy development in line with Indonesia’s target to increase the share of renewables in the national energy mix to 23 percent by 2025,” he said.
He added that the directorate general was committed to developing technical cooperation with Timor-Leste.
Timor-Leste State Administration Minister Miguel Pereira de Carvalho said electricity should no longer be considered a luxury but rather a basic need for citizens in both urban and rural areas.
“It is a great pride to see electric power development underway in Timor-Leste. I would like, on behalf of the government of Timor Leste, to thank KOICA for the spectacular gesture of solidarity for the people of Timor-Leste through this outstanding initiative,” he said.
KOICA Timor-Leste country director Kim Sikhyun said ACCESS would benefit both the citizens of Timor-Leste and the country’s diplomatic relations.
“ACCESS is a meaningful and timely project for Timor-Leste, contributing to people’s welfare in the country,” Kim said.
“Internationally, this project will be a small stepping stone to heal the history of the past and enhance the friendly relations between Timor-Leste and Indonesia. Also, I hope this can be a catalyst for Timor’s long-cherished wish to join ASEAN.”
UNDP Timor-Leste chief representative Munkhtuya Altangerel said communities in the most remote and deprived areas of Timor-Leste had faced persistent challenges in accessing electricity and clean water over the past years due to climate change.
The project, she said, would provide timely support to the people living in remote parts of the country, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, where hygiene and sanitation were crucial.