Strengthening Rural Cooperatives through MHP
By Amalia Suryani
The Indonesian Ministry of Cooperatives (KUKM) and German International Cooperation (GIZ) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 12 November 2013 to further concretise their collaboration in the field of rural electrification in Indonesia. Implemented by the GIZ project, EnDev Indonesia, this collaboration will see the strengthening of rural cooperatives in managing and administering their electrification infrastructure. In the initial phase, KUKM provides funding for the construction of ten micro-hydro power plants in ten Regions across Indonesia, while EnDev Indonesia will conduct technical commissioning and community preparation. Primary purpose of the power plants will be to provide reliable electricity to various business activities by the beneficiary cooperatives. Robert Schultz, EnDev Indonesia senior advisor, is excited about the collaboration. “We believe that rural electrification and rural business development are different sides of the same coin. They are the roots and leaves of the same tree, the axle and wheels of the same wagon,” he stated at the signing ceremony.
Providing access to electricity for rural communities as means to encourage local economic development shows the greatest impact of rural electrification programmes. While electricity for lighting, television and other common appliances provides immediate benefits, it is the use electricity for rural businesses where the long-term future of rural communities lies. Businesses employ people. They add value to natural resources. They provide essential services to the community at a lower cost. They attract money into the community and raise overall income levels. They reduce the draining of money from the community. They link the community to neighbouring communities and even to communities much further away. They have a ripple effect by facilitating the development of even further businesses. Dr. Rudolf Rauch, GIZ Renewable Energy Programme Director, added ”Coupling these benefits with renewable energy technologies and implementing projects through a cooperation approach shows key elements for sustainable development”.
With the spirit to collaborate in the strengthening of cooperative-based micro hydro power (MHP) projects, the MoU was signed by the Deputy Minister of Production, Ministry of Cooperative and Small Medium Enterprises (KUKM), Drs. Braman Setyo, M.Si., at a prestigious event attracting stakeholders from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, the Ministry of Marine and Fisheries, BAPPENAS and the Governor for the East Nusa Tengara Province. Within KUKM’s Off-Grid Support Programme, EnDev Indonesia contribution will be on capacity development and technical commissioning. Furthermore EnDev Indonesia will introduce its SMS-based rural support platform to the communities, which allows them to request technical and administrative guidance via SMS. This support aims to improve the performance and enhance sustainability of MHPs through providing advisory services to both KUKM and the beneficiary communities.
Rural power by and for Indonesia
By Robert Schultz
A glittering event took place in Bali on 25 September 2013, honouring energy projects and initiatives in 10 ASEAN member states. The ASEAN Energy Awards 2013 recognised achievements in the generation, supply, management and efficient use of energy within the region. Since 2003, awards are presented to national public and private actors who have dedicated themselves towards shaping the energy sector in the region.
This year’s energy award caused a stir within the committed energy fraternity of Indonesia: for the first time since 2004, Indonesia received a winning award. While regularly awarded runner-up positions in the past, Indonesia won this year’s category for “Community-based Off-grid”, with its project on micro-hydro power in Lembah Derita, West Sumatra. This project was part of the wider Energising Development (EnDev) programme, jointly implemented by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (EBTKE) and German Development Cooperation (GIZ), on behalf of the German and Dutch government, but attracted the judges’ attention because of its inclusive participatory approach between community, technology supplier and the Indonesian government, coupled with diverse rural business empowerment. While the award was presented to EnDev, EnDev advisor Amalia Suryani is quick to point out that this project hinged on partnership. “Credit belongs to Indonesia as a whole and the people of Lembah Derita specifically”, the experienced energy advisor emphasised. “EnDev supports those with the ambition of bringing light into darkness, to keep it there”, she clarified.
Dr Rudolf Rauch, of German International Cooperation (GIZ) and Principal Advisor for EnDev, commented that Lembah Derita exemplifies how an effective multi-actor partnership, bonded through a common vision, will accelerate rural electrification in Indonesia through renewable energy technologies. “EnDev has supported over 300 rural electrification projects in Indonesia since 2009 and the clear message is: together we can do more, faster and at less cost!” he observed, adding that “We take electricity too much for granted. Apart from literacy and numeracy, it is the most important stepping stone towards a person’s future.”
It is thus that Lembah Derita, with its largely self-funded micro-hydro power plant, a dedicated power management team, a small but devoted business community and its 23 households, can look towards a bright future in the heart of rural Indonesia.