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Electricity Infrastructure Development in Papua is a Government Priority

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Papua’s infrastructure development continues to be accelerated in order to catch up with other regions. The government continues to build road infrastructure, airports, ports, health, education, and even expand the electricity network in all corners of Papua. Through the State Electricity Company (PLN), the government continues to strive to provide electricity to remote villages in Papua. The majority of villages will receive electricity by utilizing solar energy.

PLN’s Regional Business Director for Sulawesi, Maluku, Papua and Nusa Tenggara, Syamsul Huda, said that the use of solar energy is PLN’s effort to support the acceleration of the new renewable energy mix, which the government is targeting at 23 percent by 2025. Throughout 2016-2020, PLN succeeded in supplying electricity to 807 people. village and enjoyed by almost 38 thousand customers. To provide electricity to these 807 villages, PLN invested Rp. 2.03 trillion or the equivalent of Rp. 53.6 million to electrify each customer. This addition increased the ratio of villages with electricity in Papua and West Papua to 95.62 percent. Now, a total of 7,036 villages in Papua and West Papua have electricity.

Meanwhile, PLN is trying to deliver electricity to remote villages in Papua and West Papua by utilizing solar energy. The plan is that 32 villages will use Solar Power Plants (PLTS). Utilization of solar energy is PLN’s effort to support the acceleration of the new renewable energy mix, which the government targets at 23 percent by 2025. Meanwhile, 285 villages will also utilize solar electricity through Electrical Energy Charging Stations (SPEL) and Electrical Power Distribution Devices (APDAL).

Apart from focusing on electrifying remote villages, PLN has also strengthened the electricity system for Papua and West Papua. To date, the capacity of the two provinces has reached 454 MW with a peak load of 299 MW. Under existing conditions, PLN has a power reserve of 155 MW which is ready to be maximized. Meanwhile, the capacity developed by PLN is not only sufficient, but also reliable for customers. Huda explained that this effort is considering that the availability of electricity is an important point in business and industry.

General Manager of PT PLN Main Unit for Papua and West Papua Region, Budiono said that PT PLN Main Unit for Papua and West Papua Region is ready to support electricity needs in each capital city of the four new autonomous regions (DOB) in the area. To meet the electricity needs in each DOB capital city, his party anticipates forming an Electricity Project Implementation Unit (UP2K) in each DOB. According to him, in PLN’s operations, some fuel oil (BBM) is distributed via air transportation, such as to Wamena, Papua Mountains, so it requires quite a large cost. Meanwhile, for Disadvantaged, Frontier and Outermost (3T) areas that do not yet enjoy electricity, the party has also provided a supersun innovation program so that every resident who wants to enjoy electricity can be served. The Supersun is like a solar panel and prepaid kilowatt-hour (kWh) meters are installed in the community so that it is independent and does not need a network or electricity generator.

The Acting Governor of South Papua, Apolo Safanpo, said that apart from roads, bridges and airports, the infrastructure that is most needed is the electricity network in all corners of Papua. He expressed his appreciation and thanks to President Joko Widodo because massive infrastructure development is a very appropriate step and a program that is really needed by the community.

The Papua region is still far behind compared to other regions, especially on the island of Java. However, the commitment and seriousness of President Jokowi’s government in advancing Papua through infrastructure will make it easier for people to access various things, including communications, transportation, health and other supporting facilities, which will make Papua even more advanced.

Providing this electricity infrastructure will later raise the dignity of indigenous Papuans, who will receive various positive benefits. Apart from being able to be used for daily household needs, this electricity infrastructure will also attract investment into the Papua region and can open up new job opportunities. This will effectively reduce the high poverty rate and reduce the cost index. Breakthrough after breakthrough in infrastructure development continues to be accelerated in a more integrated, precise, focused and synergistic manner with ministries/institutions and regional governments.

Papua has the same right to develop as other regions in Indonesia whose development continues to be improved. In the spirit of unity, Papua must also achieve progress that is in line with the national development vision.

All stakeholders, both the central and regional governments, as well as the Papuan people themselves, must unite to realize this ideal. A Papua that is advanced, prosperous and full of hope is a dream that can not only be realized by the government, but also by all Papuan youth who have great potential and a strong determination to develop their own homeland. All hands must join hands to achieve this common goal.

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