The $550m project has been welcomed as an alternative energy source to coal
The Indonesian government has given the green light for the development of the Palmerah Tidal Bridge, the worldâ€™s largest tidal power plant, located off the island of Flores. The project includes the construction of an 800m-long floating bridge which encompasses the plant and crosses the Larantuka Strait, connecting the islands of Flores and Andonara. The first phase, which has a contract value of up to $200 million and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, will deliver power capacity of 18 to 23 MW, providing enough electricity for 100,000 people in the area. The project will later be extended and finalized, so that the installed capacity will reach 90 MW to 115 MW, providing energy for more than half a million people. The total project duration is expected to span four years, with a contract value of up to $550 million.
Although it is a relatively uncommon form of renewable energy, tidal power is a potentially more reliable power source than wind or the sun and Indonesia is an ideal location for such projects, due to the strong ocean currents that move between the thousands of islands in the worldâ€™s largest archipelago.
This is the first deal in the area of water works in which the Indonesian and Dutch governments will cooperate. The Head of Agreement was signed in April 2016, followed by the feasibility study. The project is endorsed by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, the Dutch Embassy in Jakarta, the Indonesian province NTT, the Ministry of Energy, Public Works & Marine, and the Indonesian Embassy in The Hague. It has been awarded to Tidal Bridge BV, a joint venture between the Dutch engineering firm Strukton International and venture capital fund Dutch Expansion Capital (DEC).
Eric van den Eijnden, CEO of Tidal Bridge, said: â€œWe are proud to use cutting-edge technology in realizing this bridge with the largest tidal power plant in the world and be able to increase the living standard of the people with this project.â€ Latif Gau, CEO of Tidal Bridge Indonesia, added that â€œThe Indonesian government was pleasantly surprised by the inventiveness of the partners, which made sure we could very quickly move to the implementations phase.â€ AndrÃ© Hoogeveen, General Manager at Strukton Sustainable Energy, described the project as â€˜an extraordinary momentum to show our knowledge and experienceâ€™.
The project is expected to improve living standards (around 50 million Indonesians currently live without reliable electricity), stimulating tourism and improving access to education and health care in the longer term. Also, taking into account the huge energy demands due to the countryâ€™s fast economic growth, the tidal power plant will be an alternative to coal burning. According to a report by Greenpeace released in January, if plans to build new coal power plants go through, the country will suffer more deaths as a result of air pollution than any other in Southeast Asia.
There is some concern about potential damage to the biodiversity in the area because of the bridge, however the siteâ€™s developers say that the consequences would be â€œvery limitedâ€. Eric van den Eijnden said that water speed would decrease, but this has â€œno knownâ€ environmental consequences, adding that the turbines are â€œfish-friendlyâ€ and designed to prevent fish from being crushed when they pass through it. He also stated that â€œ[Local] fishermen are very enthusiastic because we respect the shipping lanes and they can use the electricity to build cool cells. With this [electricity], they are able to freeze the catch and are thus able to build up a proper industry.â€
The Larantuka Strait between Flores (left - city of Larantuka) and Andonara (right).
Photo Source: Dutch Water Sector
Source: Climate Action