ADB to Support Sumba's Transformation into 100% Renewable Energy Island

KUPANG, INDONESIA - A two-day meeting in the city of Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara province, marked the start of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) support the Iconic Island initiative to power the Island of Sumba with 100% renewable energy.

The program, initiated by the Dutch development organization Hivos with support from the Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, will benefit from ADB’s $1 million technical assistance program to scale up renewable energy access in eastern Indonesia.

“ADB’s support provides an important milestone to the continuous effort of different stakeholders who thus far have already made some progress,” said Dadan Kusdiana, Director of Bio Energy at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. “Additional knowledge and experience is always welcomed to support this effort. We specifically expect the resulting projects would be commercially sustainable and attract independent funding, making Sumba an example for similar projects in other parts of Indonesia and beyond.”

The meeting saw experts from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, local and regional governments, state electricity company PLN, Hivos, and other institutions exchanging information with ADB on current projects and activities. Direction for future projects were also sought and discussed to ensure the new collaboration would scale up current efforts and be aimed towards achieving the goal of 100% renewable energy access in Sumba.

“Sumba is a good choice to illustrate that renewable energy and development go hand-in-hand,” said Pradeep Tharakan, Climate Change Specialist at ADB’s Indonesia Resident Mission. “We are very pleased to support this multi-stakeholder initiative, which is part of ADB’s broader renewable energy program in eastern Indonesia, and hope to bring additional resources to support this cause in the near term.”

The Iconic Island initiative has received wide support from stakeholders, as marked with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between governments at local, regional and national level, PLN, and Hivos in 2011. Last year, a multi-stakeholder taskforce was formed, bringing together expertise from the government, private sector, universities, and civil society organisations. The structure of the taskforce includes a steering committee, working groups and a national secretariat.

Results from the Iconic Island program to transform Sumba’s energy sources are already visible. A PLN project had resulted in the abundance of home solar panels on the island, while a Hivos-funded project allowed remote villages like Kaminggih to enjoy electricity from hydro power. The use of biogas systems and wind turbines to provide clean energy are also growing.