Written By: Emma Websdale
This week the Norwegian Embassy announced it will invest up to US$2 million dollars in the Sumba “Iconic Island Initiative” –helping to deliver renewable energy independence to the island.
The Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta will provide approximately $2 million dollars to support the “Iconic Island Initiative”, an initiative aiming to demonstrate that a economically disadvantaged and isolated island in Indonesia can be powered by 100% renewable, locally produced energy within ten years.
Led by Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, the initiative has support from Dutch nongovernmental development organization HIVOS and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The initiative was introduced to Sumba Island in 2010 to improve the lives of the 650,000 inhabitants there who were living without access to electricity. For cooking and lighting, 70% of the population has depended on kerosene –an expensive, highly polluting and hazardous fuel.
To demonstrate how renewable energy can transform lives in one of the poorest regions in Indonesia, the initiative will develop and implement various renewable energy solutions, including solar panels, hydropower and energy kiosks to provide solar lanterns and mobile phone charging.
“Our main reasons for choosing to support this programme were the co-operation between all stakeholders and the chance to promote development with renewable energy”, says Marianne Damhaug, minister counsellor at the Norwegian Embassy. “The Sumba Iconic Island can become a model for other areas in Indonesia and beyond.”
The ADB, which joined the initiative in 2013, is rallying a team of experts to develop a cost energy access plan for the island and identify investment projects.
“Renewable energy [wind, hydro, solar and biogas] is the best and most cost-effective solution for people on remote islands such as Sumba”, says Eco Matser, the coordinator of the climate, energy and development of HIVOS, the Dutch Humanist Institute for Cooperation.
“We can achieve the ambitious target of 100% renewable energy by working together with all stakeholders from government, private sector and civil society”, added, Dadan Kusdiana, director of Bio Energy of MEMR. “That is why a taskforce comprising all these stakeholders has been created and a joint roadmap has been developed.”