Bali – Coal power generation in Southeast Asia (SEA) grew by 12 percent in 2019 while the rest of the world was cutting back on coal. It is an ironic reality that the region contributes to and is heavily impacted by climate change, due to its reliance on coal. Southeast Asians are now forced to face another fossil fuel: Natural gas, which is more accurately referred to as fossil gas.
The indigenous community in Desa Adat Intaran, Sanur, Bali strongly oppose plans to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in their area.
Ida Bagus Ketut Purbanegara, the public relations officer of PT Dewata Energi Bersih (PT DEB), project implementer of the LNG terminal installation, emphasized that the plant is safe and does not violate the rules.
He also said he respects the differences of opinion in the community and considers the rejection of the project to be natural, due to the lack of socialization about the benefits for Bali.
Purbanegara explained that the renewable energy mega project plan began with a plan to build an LNG storage terminal in a special block area, Pedungan, Sidakarya, Denpasar City.
He said that the perception that the construction of the LNG terminal, for example, could cause explosions, drilling, and harm coastal communities is incorrect. He added that the issue is a lack of public understanding about LNG itself and about how the plan will actually have a positive impact on the surrounding community
“There are also those who say the construction of the LNG terminal will clear 16 hectares of mangrove land, which we also need to straighten out. It is true, there is a special block (mangrove) of that size, but we only utilize three hectares of it, so we will not clear the mangrove forest there,” Purbanegara explained.
In addition, he continued, the Sidakarya LNG Terminal and the gas pipeline are already listed in the spatial layout of Denpasar City, according to Denpasar City Regional Regulation No. 8 of 2021. And, the construction of the LNG plant will support the use of clean energy for power generation, so that there is an additional 2×100 MW power plant.
In this initial stage, he said, the planned development is to build a jetty around 500 meters from shore for ships transporting LNG from the Tangguh Gas Field in Papua.
He claimed that building the jetty will not damage coral reefs since the coral in the area to be used is already dead. Furthermore, there will be pipe planting for gas distribution at a depth of 10 meters from the jetty to the LNG terminal passing through the mangrove area.
“With a depth of 10 meters, the pipe will not disturb the mangrove roots that only reach a depth of about 6 meters,” he said.
Regarding the existence of the temple, he ensured that it would not interfere with the sanctity of the temple.
As for the spatial planning, according to him, there is indeed a discrepancy between Denpasar City Regional Regulation No. 8/2021, which calls the Sidakarya area a special block for LNG utilization, and Bali Provincial Regulation No. 3/2020, which states that the area is a conservation area.
Related to this, his party refers to the provisions of the Job Creation Law where it is stated that if there are different rules, the latest provision is used as a reference. “In this case, it is the Denpasar City regulation,” he said.
The LNG terminal project was originally to be built at Benoa Port and managed by PT Pelindo Energi Logistik (PT PEL). However, it was eventually relocated to the Sidakarya Village area, Denpasar. The Bali Terminal LNG infrastructure development is targeted to operate to supply gas to the Pesanggaran Diesel and Gas Power Plant (PLTDG) in early 2023.
For fuel for the gas power plant in Pesanggaran, PLN will utilize LNG, which currently has a long-term contract with the LNG producer, BP Tangguh. A subsidiary of PT PLN (Persero), PT PLN Gas and Geothermal (PLN GG) with a 51-percent shareholding structure, and a regional company owned by the Bali Provincial Government, PT Dewata Energy Bersih (DEB) with a 49-percent shareholding, have been appointed as the implementers.
The central and local governments want to accelerate gas utilization by building LNG terminal infrastructure, as its utilization is targeted to increase to 22 percent by 2025, including in Bali.
Ida Bagus Setiawan, head of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division of the Bali Provincial Manpower and Energy and Mineral Resources Office, said that additional energy sources for Bali must be clean and in accordance with the regulations and policy directions of the Bali Government. That means power plants can no longer be fuelled by coal or oil.
“This means that there will be an energy transition, while towards the transition to new renewable energy, natural gas is the most reliable foundation,” he explained.
Although Bali does not have natural gas deposits, power plants in the province can use LNG imported from outside. The government is projecting that Bali will eventually be able to produce enough power from LNG.
This is what must be prepared, Gus Setiawan said, as he talked about how Bali would be self-sufficient and would play a regional role in energy management.
There are plans to convert all diesel plants to run on gas, which will mean bigger demand than the LNG terminal at Pelindo Benoa would be able to handle. Therefore, a more specialized LNG terminal needs to be built to ensure that the gas is always available, he said.
“And we want the LNG not to be controlled from outside, because the local government will not get anything. We should not continue to be spectators, but we must be the direct dancers,” he said.
He emphasized that LNG terminals are safe and that generating systems can be managed with a closed process, so there is not much pollution. He added infrastructure on land will only be for transport and storage of the LNG, which, he said, will also allow new businesses to grow.
“Because in the process of changing from liquid to gas, there is cold energy that goes out. This energy can be accommodated in cold storage that can be utilized for free by local fishermen,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, IGW Samsi Gunarta, the head of the Bali Provincial Transportation Office, explained that construction and operations of the LNG terminal will have to follow environmental guidelines.
“If you want to do dredging and risk, it must be stated in the environmental management plan document which is part of the environmental impact analysis,” he added.
“Permits are not issued if the things required in the environmental document cannot be confirmed, and the project can be stopped if such things are not met.”
The same process will occur at Sidakarya, where dredging will also need to be done. The study will provide recommendations on what to do to minimize the physical-chemical, biological, social, and traffic impacts, including how to monitor them during preconstruction, construction, and post-construction.
The relocation of the LNG terminal in the Sidakarya area is an effort to realize national energy security, especially in meeting electricity needs in Bali and eastern Indonesia, including for the resilience of Bali tourism in the future. This is in accordance with the government program for Bali Province to be using green energy by 2030.
For that to happen, the province will need to continue building environmentally friendly power plants with the support of the LNG terminal.
Banner photo: The relocation of the LNG Terminal from the planned Tanjung Benoa Port to the mangrove special area of Ngurah Rai Community Forest Park in Sidakarya Village, Bali drew protests from representatives of the Intaran Traditional Village, in early June 2022. (Courtesy: Doc Walhi Bali)