Bali governor call for halt to geothermal exploration

December 28, 2011

Bali's governor could run into central government approbation following his official position that a geothermal energy project to generate power should be scrapped. Made Mangku Pastika said the three existing exploration sites at Bedugul have destroyed four hectares of protected forests, something Bali does not have a lot of, but without any positive results, reported the Jakarta Globe.

Pastika said another reason for his recommendation was that the areas in question were regarded as holy sites by Balinese Hindus and contained 30 temples.

His position puts him at odds with energy and mineral resources minister, Jero Wacik, who visited the island to discuss the geothermal project in early December, saying it had 165-MW of generating capacity and could provide electricity a US 9 cents per kilowatt hour compared to Bali's prevailing rate of US 40 cents per kWh.

Bali has the highest electricity rates in Indonesia and gets its power via undersea cable to Java and three gas-powered plants on the island operated by state-owned utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN).

Governor Pastika is in favor of the proposed Bali Crossing project which would bring additional power from Java via an aerial cable.