Wamena, Papua. State electricity firm PLN began construction on Wednesday of a new hydroelectric power plant in Baliem valley in Wamena, Papua, which is set to become the largest power plant in the province.
PLN managing director Nur Pamudji said the plant, PLTA Baliem, would have a capacity to generate 50 megawatts of electricity that would be channeled to several districts around the Jayawijaya mountains, including Jayawijaya, Yahukimo and Kurima.
Pamudji said the construction of the plant was only the first stage in the development of power supply for Papua, which will be concentrated in Baliem.
“We see that there is a large potential to make Baliem River a major electricity producer . . . It has the potential to generate up to 800 megawatts of electricity,” Pamudji said during the launching ceremony of the project in Wamena.
State Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan, who also attended the launching event, said the government was planning to build up to seven hydro-power plants in Baliem.
The first of those plants launched on Wednesday, Dahlan said, is already PLN’s “largest project” in Papua. The minister cited another power plant in Jayapura that is already in operation, and which only generates 20 megawatts of electricity.
The PLTA Baliem project includes the construction of 28 kilometer-long road connecting the plant with surrounding areas. Once the road is complete, PLN will start building the plant.
Dahlan said the project will cost Rp 4.6 trillion ($487.6 million), and is expected to be built in four years.
“We’re targeting completion by 2016, and hope that people can benefit from not only the power supply, but also the road,” Dahlan said, as quoted by Indonesian news portal tempo.co.