Flores To Develop Geothermal Facilities –
Local Farmers Worry
Flores island has been identified as the site to the country’s largest geothermal energy within the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) region, as announced recently by the Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM).
It was reported that Flores has the potential to unleash 776 MWe of geothermal energy which can be used to increase the electrification ratio in eastern Indonesia and power downstream industries such as the mining industry, smelters, fisheries, plantations and tourism. Currently the majority of electricity needs on Flores Island are for household consumption.
The government has identified 12 prospect areas for geothermal in Flores – as of today, only 3 areas have received their Geothermal Working Area management permits (WKP) from the ESDM minister, namely Ulumbu, Mataloko and Sokoria with a total installed capacity of 12.5 MW.
In related news, about 1000 local farmers on the island of Flores are voicing their protests on the government’s plans on the geothermal power plant projects, citing damages to the environment and lost of livelihoods as well as ancestral homes.
“The mining activities will create drought, a shortage of clean water and famine because a significant amount of agricultural land will be damaged,” said farmer Fridolinus Sanir. He said that the mines would swallow up two natural springs, which have been the main source of drinking water and irrigation for farmers. Mining activities will also damage protected forests and 800 hectares of rice fields, he added. (Source)
Local farmers’ representatives have made their demands to district head Agustinus Dula during a meeting on Feb. 18 and called for an immediate stop to drilling being carried out in various locations, some of which are within close vicinity to farmlands and water sources.
The farmers have enlisted the help of their local churches to have their voices heard and to stop the geothermal projects from taking place