20 Oct 2016

Indonesian president commissions Papua electricity drive

4:25 pm on 20 October 2016

Power capacity in West Papua is to increase twofold by 2019, under a plan launched by Indonesia's president.

Joko Widodo has just completed another visit to Papua region, his second this year and his fourth since becoming president two years ago.

While there the president, known as Jokowi, inaugurated several infrastructure projects, including the establishment of six electricity power plants in Papua and West Papua provinces.

The Jakarta Post reports Jokowi saying that while Papua's geographical conditions were very tough it should not be an obstacle for completing infrastructure projects.

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (L) arrives at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Vientiane on September 7, 2016.

President Widodo, (foreground), has pushed for infrastructure improvements in West Papua Photo: AFP

Along with proposals for a major trans-Papua road, and rail links, the electricity plans are part of Jakarta's drive to accelerate development in Papua.

The head of Indonesia's state electricity firm PLN said the current total power capacity in Papua region is 294 MW and 242 MW at peak load for 521,000 customers.

Sofyan Basir said that to get it to double the capacity, and complete the electrification of 15 regency capitals across Papua and West Papua, the PLN would have to work around the clock.

The president urged the PLN head to not take too long with the electrification programme in Papua.

While 2019 was given as an early deadline, it is hoped that the plan should be completes at the latest by 2020, when papua is due to host the National Games.

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