February 16, 2008 (Jakarta Post) – The idea of introducing nuclear power to Indonesia is nothing more than a vehicle for a few needy individuals to gain public attention. Any moderately educated engineer will agree that Indonesia’s need for electricity is widely decentralized so nuclear power or large coal power plants are the ideas of people lacking technical understanding.
It should be common knowledge that “the transmission of electricity over long distance comes with huge loss.” There are very few countries in the world with better chances than Indonesia to realize enormous decentralized energy generation at low cost or even free for the country.
Indonesia has a potential 27,000 MW of geothermal sources requiring low investment of which currently only 837 MW are in use. Why? Because Pertamina, PLN and the government have not, over the past 30 years, managed to give the many waiting investors investment security.
Indonesia has a potential of over 100,000 MW all over the country from turning waste from plantations into electricity (while cashing in on valuable carbon credits). Why is this rare and unknown?
Because the government until today hasn’t ceased to subsidize the use of its decreasing coal and oil reserves instead of allowing just slightly higher kWh rates for renewable energy. Indonesia has unlimited potential to produce solar power on islands at a cost well below the 26 U.S. cents per kWh for electricity from diesel generators that PLN currently pays for power generation on all outer islands.
The nuclear industry is not shy to claim there were “only 35 deaths proven to be caused by the Chernobyl disaster” while thousands of scientists have written and witnessed the contrary. The nuclear industry never admits that nuclear power is far more expensive than all other energy generation if you include governments taking liability for the operational safety instead of operators paying risk insurance.
The nuclear industry bluntly rejects detailed research proving doubled cases of child cancer in areas close to nuclear power plants. Hundreds of investors and development banks are waiting for the green light to help Indonesia produce renewable energy. How dare nuclear promoters take Indonesians for a ride? It’s high time to promote renewable energy generation.