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An End to Bali's Geothermal Plans?

Bali's Legislators Formally Rejects Plans for Geothermal Power Generation.

Bali News:
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A formal decision by Bali's provincial parliament rejecting the planned operation of a geothermal power generation project by Bali Energy Limited (BEL) has put the future of the Bedugul-based power plant in serious jeopardy.

The Bedugul project is located about 60 kilometers northwest of Denpasar where geothermal energy potential has been explored by BEL, a joint venture company formed with local investors and California Energy and a joint-operating contract with the State Energy Company Pertamina and the National Electricity Board (PLN).

Preliminary work on the power generation project is estimated to have cost in excess of US$50 million, spent to determine the viability of producing power from steam generated from bore holes placed deep into the earth's surface.

Growing Local Resistance to Project

In recent months, various religious, environmental and community groups have vociferously stated their opposition to the project leading to the most recent rejection of the project by the Bali's local parliament.

Uncertain Jurisdictional Issues

The Bali parliament's recommendations to Governor Beratha to close the geothermal project may, however, be insufficient to halt the plant, which was initiated in 1995 and targeted to eventually produce 10 megawatts of power. The Indonesian-language Bali Post quoted the President Director of BEL, Ngurah Wijaya, as saying the geothermal project would continue it work despite the local parliament's most recent objection. According to Wijaya, BEL acts only as the developer of the power project with final ownership in the hands of the government.

The Geothermal BEL project was commenced after undergoing detailed environmental impact studies and receiving formal Presidential approval. Apparently, pending a formal closure of the project by the Central Government in Jakarta, the operators of the project intend to continue their work.

More Information on Bali's Geothermal Project

Well known journalist Lawrence Pintak has interviewed Donald M. O'Shei, Jr., President and Chief Operating Officer of CalEnergy - a partner in the BEL project. To help shed more light on the issues surrounding the Bedugul Geothermal Project, includes a link to that informative interview.

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