KUPANG, KOMPAS.com – East Nusa Tenggara Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat aims to make the province’s Sumba Island into a leading source of alternate energy, specifically solar power, as he aims to diversify the province’s economy from agriculture and tourism.
“[The Governor] aims to make Sumba the site of Indonesia’s first solar based power station, as it has the most concentrated sunlight in the country,” said East Nusa Tenggara provincial administration spokesman Marius Ardi Jelamu to Kompas.com on October 6.
“We will start off by building a 20,000-megawatt solar power station that can supply enough energy to supply Java, Bali, East Nusa Tenggara and [the neighboring province] of West Nusa Tenggara. As such, he named the initiative From Sumba to Indonesia.”
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Marius added that Viktor brought up the idea to President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo during the latter’s visit to the city of Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, on October 1.
“We plan to build [the solar power station] on a large-scale. We hope the installation will bring about a ‘multiplier effect’ to bolster East Nusa Tenggara’s economy” he said.
“But we will reach out to regency heads in Sumba, as well as community and religious leaders and notify them of our plan [to build the power station], so as to avoid issues in granting land permits for the installation.”
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Marius noted that Viktor has requested hundreds of tractors and other heavy equipment to develop the land for the solar power station from President Jokowi. He added that the President complied and conveyed his request to Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo.
"[The solar power station] is an effective way to lift [Sumba and the rest of East Nusa Tenggara] from poverty. It can also make the most of the area’s abundant natural resources.
East Nusa Tenggara is long known to be one of Indonesia’s poorest provinces with high rates of inflation, unemployment, and high interest rates, despite its iconic tourist sights like Komodo Island, Labuan Bajo, and Sumba itself.
(Writer: Sigiranus Marutho Bere | Editor: Robertus Belarminus)
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