Norway to Join ADB in Sumba Iconic Island Initiative

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  • Gili Laba, a small island in East Sumbawa, East Nusa Tenggara Timur. TEMPO/ Nita Dian

    Gili Laba, a small island in East Sumbawa, East Nusa Tenggara Timur. TEMPO/ Nita Dian

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta will provide up to US$1 million to the  Sumba "Iconic Island Initiative" to help improving access to energy on the island using mostly renewable energy sources. The Sumba Iconic Island Initiative is led by  Indonesia's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources with the support of HIVOS, a Dutch non-governmental  organization, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

    "Our main reason for choosing to support this program was the co-operation between all stakeholders and the chance to promote development with renewable energy," says Marianne Damhaug, Minister Counsellor at the Norwegian Embassy. "We are very pleased to support this multi-stakeholder initiative and to be able to provide additional resources to benefit this cause."

    The island of Sumba, located in the province of Nusa Tenggara Timur, was chosen to display the potential of using renewable energy to improve access to energy, and to explore its abundance of renewable energy sources. Currently, the majority of its 650,000 inhabitants have no access to electricity, and 70 percent of the population have been found to be using kerosene and biomass, which are expensive, highly polluting and extremely unhealthy, for lighting and cooking purposes.

    Launched in 2011, the Initiative is led by a government taskforce bringing together expertise from the government, private sector, universities and civil society organisations. Early results of the Initiative have been manifested in the forms of a PLN project that provides solar home system to 28,000 households in Sumba, and HIVOS-supported grid-connected hydropower in Kemanggih and clean energy from biogas systems. Meanwhile, the ADB, which joined the initiative in 2013, is providing a team of experts who will develop a low-cost energy access plan for the island, identify investment projects, and seek to gather additional sources of finance.

    "This program can achieve its ambitious target of 100 percent renewable energy if all stakeholders are able to work together, including representatives from government, private sector and civil society," said Rida Mulyana, Director General of New Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. "We therefore welcome the Norwegian Embassy's support, which is an important milestone to the continuous effort in achieving the target, and hopefully will help to make Sumba a good example for similar projects in other parts of eastern Indonesia and beyond."

    The additional resources from the Norwegian Embassy will be provided to the Ministry and administered by the ADB. It will be utilized to scale up ADB’s current US$1 million technical assistance program for improving renewable energy access in Eastern Indonesia, and will accommodate more intensive activities in Sumba, such as a wind resources survey and exploring options for output-based aid.