Bali Governor Made Pastika has asked that the polemic over the exploration and exploitation of geothermal energy in the hills of Bedugul be brought to an end.
As reported by Kompas.com, Pastika has rejected requests for a new review of the geothermal energy project in Bali, despite urgings to do so from fellow-Balinese, Indonesia’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM), Jero Wacik. Governor Pastika has said that revisiting the controversy over geothermal energy in Bali will only serve to foster conflicts on social, economic and cultural levels.
Pastika implored: “So please, lets’ stop the polemic. O.K.?”
ESDM Minister Jero Wacik has promoted geothermal energy in Bali for its ability to generate at least 165 megawatts of additional power supply. For this reason, his ministry continues to lobby for geothermal exploration.
Efforts to establish a geothermal energy production facility in Bedugal have been the focus on many protests since its initiation several years ago. The initial rejection of the idea for geothermal power came from the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali), followed by a formal rejection by the then governor Dewa Made Beratha.
When power changed hands to Bali’s current governor, Made Mangku Pastika, in 2008, the rejection of the project in the hills of Batukaru was reiterated by the island’s new chief executive. This put an end to developer’s efforts to bore three holes in the hillside in order to tap subterranean geothermal heat sources.
Governor Pastika explained: “It is rather difficult for us to allow our already limited forest areas to be sacrificed for geothermal projects. Nobody has been able to certify exactly where the best area is to drill, the area with the most geothermal potential. These are technical issues.”
Balinese religious belief holds that the island’s mountains are sacred and must be preserved. Because of this, many Balinese are concerned that any geothermal drilling will violate the sanctity of Bali’s mountain-lake district.
Bali’s current lack of electrical power is being addressed by the construction of “Bali Crossing” – the world highest electrical pylon system that will bring power from Java to Bali. When completed in 2013, “Bali Crossing” has the potential of delivering 3,200 megawatts of power to the island.
According to Governor Pastika, “so, with 3,200 megawatts of power and the construction of new power plants in Bali, we will have enough power to meet Bali’s needs until 2025.”
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