Tue, 20 Feb 2007
Indonesia aims to have 2,000 energy self-sufficient villages powered by hydro, solar or bio-fuel resources by 2009, according to Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro.

The country currently has 140 villages capable of meeting all their own energy needs, Antara news agency quoted him as saying late Wednesday (14/2/07) after a cabinet meeting.

"President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono wants the number of energy-self-sufficient villages ... 140 increased to 200 this year and to 2,000 by the end of the present cabinet's tenure in 2009," Yusgiantoro said.

The villages have developed micro-hydropower plants or solar, bio-gas and bio-fuel energy schemes which also create jobs and reduce reliance on fossil fuel reserves to help meet growing energy demands in Southeast Asia's largest economy.

Yudhoyono has asked the relevant ministries to arrange to disburse the necessary funds to the villages involved in the scheme, Antara said. He said the villages were eventually expected to produce an energy surplus which they could then sell.

The scheme was hoped to reduce the number of unemployed by one million by 2009, the minister said, adding that 45% of Indonesia's 70,000 villages were underdeveloped. One pioneer village, Tanjung Harjo in Central Java, was already using vegetable energy resources to meet all its needs and was selling its surplus power to a nearby sugar factory, the agency said.

Around a third of Indonesians have no access to electricity, the World Bank says.



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