Micro Hydro, Sustainable Renewable Energy Solution for the Pesisir Barat District | WWF Indonesia

Micro Hydro, Sustainable Renewable Energy Solution for the Pesisir Barat District

Posted on 24 April 2019   |  
By: Hijrah Nasir
We can hear the waterfall even from the clumps of trees on the edge of the river that are quite high. We walked closer to the river where the micro hydro installation is located, which helped the Sukabanjar village community of lighting in the District Pesisir Barat, Lampung for three years. We had to ride a motorbike for about half an hour from the last village and continue the journey by tracing the hills. The air was still fresh and clear, that morning was a given gift of our trip.

10 micro hydro engines were installed and helped to light up 185 households with a capacity of 500 kW in the village. The absence of electricity from the PLN (State Electricity Company) in the village makes the community very dependent into alternative renewable energy, especially micro-hydro and solar panels. Sukabanjar village is one of the villages that is directly adjacent to Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (BBSNP), Protected Forests, and Limited Production Forests. According to the community, tiger traces are still often found in this area while elephants are rarely found. One of the citizens even told us that in 1994, a herd of elephants often came to community housing. But over the past decade, none of the elephants have come to their place or field. The practice of palm oil plantations in the community field is also considered to have affected elephant habitat.

Since 2015, Sukabanjar village society and WWF Indonesia have developed a joint commitment to support the conservation of forests includes water spring from rivers, where they utilize micro hydro. This micro hydro engine is supported by Toyota Environmental Activities Grant Program to encourage renewable energy programs in the buffer area of Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. Sukabanjar village is adjacent to the BBSNP, which makes the role of this community very important, to participate for the forest conservation of the national park.

Through this partnership, the community is expected not to encroach the forest so that the water supply to the river remains stable and does not disturb the micro hydro, which they use. The river in the Limited Production Forest area is the buffer area of the BBSNP, it was once got lost as an encroachment area with planting the coffee tree.

"There are 100 hectares of restored forest area. People planted jengkol and nutmeg, so that the condition of the forest starts to get restored nowadays. It also affected the river where we installed micro hydro. Even though there are flash floods, micro hydro can still be utilized." explained Eli Suheli who is the chairman of this micro hydro plant group. The community considers that this micro hydro program gives benefits for them.

Before this micro hydro engine was installed, Sukabanjar residents used diesel by filling diesel fuel at least 2 liters per night with an average expenditure of IDR 600,000 / month. By using micro-hydro, they only need to pay IDR 50,000 / month for maintenance costs paid each month to the group administrators.

Because of the micro hydro, the community not only felt the benefits directly, but it also helps their economic activities. With the electricity, women in Sukabanjar village who have previously been grinding coffee by manual method can now grind coffee with a grinding machine. The lighting from the micro hydro also helps school children to study at night. In addition, the community can now use the water dispenser not walking far to the river to collect water supply. The community also claimed that they can get more news and information with the television in their homes.

WWF engages the local community to restore the forest. Renewable energy sources and low-cost energy through micro hydro can light up the community and preserve forests in Bukit Barisan Selatan.



blog comments powered by Disqus