KABARTIMURNEWS.COM, AMBON - The Maluku’s Provincial Government and New Zealand Ambassador to Indonesia officially launched the New Zealand Maluku Access to Renewable Energy Support (NZMATES) program.
The launch of this program was marked by the signing of an MoU between the Maluku’s Provincial Government represented by the Governor of Maluku, Said Assagaff, and Mercy Corps, a national organization which collaborates with New Zealand-based renewable energy company Infratec Ltd., took place at the Governor's office on Wednesday (11/28).
Mercy Corps also collaborates with EBTKE (the Directorate General of Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation), PLN (State Electricity Company), Bappeda (Provincial Development Planning Agency), provincial and district/city governments, as well as local communities, private sector, and educational institutions in conducting the program implementation. The Governor stated in his speech that the potential of natural resources in Maluku especially in the energy sector is abundant.
However, this is constrained by the lack of basic infrastructure, limited access to transportation and facilities, and unequal access to electricity and services on each island, especially on large islands, Seram and Buru, as well as on the outermost, underdeveloped, and border islands. He said, "All of these factors contribute to existence of poverty in Maluku region.”
He stated that these issues certainly need special attention especially on electricity services to be equally accessed by community across the region. He is aware of the enormous electricity needs in order to improve the livelihoods of the community and increase the quality of basic services in education, health, and energy security.
Assagaff said that the efforts to provide the quality of electricity services equally are somewhat constrained by the geographical conditions of Maluku archipelago and high cost of building the infrastructure for conventional energy in the islands.
Through the NZMATES program with the support from the government of New Zealand and Mercy Corps, he hopes the program could provide solutions in minimizing electricity problems through renewable energy.
He said, "This is supported by the renewable energy resources that have not been optimally utilized for development purposes, such as geothermal and ocean current. Energy that comes from wind, solar, water, biomass, and so on, these resources exist in our area.”
He added that the implementation of this program will then be followed up in the form of signing a cooperation agreement in order to support the renewable energy utilization toward the welfare for the local community in Maluku.
Meanwhile, New Zealand Ambassador to Indonesia, Dr. Trevor Matheson, said that the government of New Zealand provided NZD 10 million to implement the NZMATES program until 2023.
This program clearly aims to support the development and implementation of renewable energy projects on Seram Island, especially hydro and solar power plant projects, as well as other power plants which potentially powered by wind and biomass. He explained that NZMTES is a three-way partnership agreement between the government of New Zealand, the Directorate General of Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, and PLN. He stated, "This collaboration is part of celebrating 60 years of bilateral relations between Indonesia and New Zealand."