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Affairs, Timor-Leste, Dili, 6-7 July, 2009
Heavy issues facing Timor in energy generation
A P P R O P R I A T E
M E T H O D S
F O R
G E N E R A T I O N
A N D
D I S T R I B U T I O N
E L E C T R I C I T Y
T I M O R - L E S T E
It is a great honor to be here today, I will have to beg your forgiveness if I sound over-passionate, I know that I’m still young and unlearned and, as you may have noticed, Timorese politicians have gone to a great lengths classify what actions and reasons for my activities in both local and international newspapers1. To my classificatory brothers and sister I would like to remind that: The purpose of classification is not to set forth final and indisputable truths but rather to afford stepping stones towards better understanding2. With this in mind, I hope that this small presentation gives my audience stepping stones to understanding some of the issues involved in the Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) Power Plant construction in Timor-Leste, and Timor-Leste’s current Energy Sector Strategy. The HFO Power Plant is the largest infrastructure development envisioned by the current regime and brings to light, according to Governments officials, the first step in Timor-Leste’s “real progress”3. This case has since its announcement became the single most contested Government decision.
1 I have been classified by the President of the Republic in a speech in 26 of November 2008 as “terribly unintelligent”, please check read through Agência Lusa (Portuguese News Agency), as anarchist, as subversive, the list goes on and on. 2 Graton, L.C. in Fred M. Bullard, Volcanoes of the Earth Chapter 4 (p. 30) 3 Government Media Release: East Timor to Electrify the Nation
Just to put it into perspective the Government has allocated more money in 2009 for the construction of the Power Plant than the budget4 for the entire activities of the Ministry of Education, Health and of the Ministry of Agriculture. And even if we add the three ministries the total budget is still significantly less than the budget allocated for this single development (Table 1).
Table 1. Budget Projections (2009-2011)5
2009 POWER PLANTS MIN EDUCATION MIN HEALTH MIN AGRICULTURE 85,000 30,257 24,704 29,609 2010 160,000 37,379 21,406 8,588 2011 120,000 22,754 20,849 7,829
Other than the disparity in budget allocation and the eminent marginalization of Education, Health, and Agriculture Sectors (Figure 1) the Government decision has been heavily criticized for the lack 1), of transparency6 in the tender process and in the very process of selecting of the winning bid7.
200,000 100,000 0 2009 2010
POWER PLANTS SUM of Ministeries 2011
Figure 1- What are the national priorities? Power over Education, over health and agriculture
Excluding the salary and wages MoF (2009). State Budget, book 2. 6 Asia Times, http://atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/JL03Ae02.html 7 Kla’ak edition, 45, front page, presents official letters and exchanged diplomatic notes between the Timorese Embassy in Beijing and China Merchant Bank proving that the company presented a series of forged documents to the evaluation panel
Despite the exorbitant price, the generators, the heart and soul of the Power Plants, are outdated, Plants frail and heavily polluting. China Nuclear 22nd Nuclear Industry has sold second-hand, decommissioned generators produced some 30 years ago Neither one of these generators (Sulzer ago. Generator Sets 14ZAV40S, PC-4 and PC2-6) can actually run, as they are, on natural gas, as assured gas by the Prime Minister in National Parliament8. Interestingly, the Minister of Infrastructure has been quoted by Chinese Government Official document(s) as saying that “Timor-Leste intends to purchase some second-hand diesel or heavy oil generating sets to address power supply shortage hand immediately”9 months before the announcement of any international tender, the winning bid company has apparent links with some of the entrepreneurs and companies that have him during his visit to Guangdong Province (as mentioned in the Government media release). ISSUES E N V I R O N M E N T A L S T A N D A R D S 10
The winning company has pledged “to the highest standards implemented by People's Republic of China”11as ed “to China incongruous as this may sound given China’s environmental reputation, these standards are actually higher (meaning better) that the ones imposed by the Government12, that would allow the Company all to pollute 50 times more (NOx) than the allowable by the standards proposed by the company (Fig. 2).
Company 2000 mg/Nm3 1500 1000 500 0 SO2 Pollutant NOx Figure 2- A brief comparison between World Bank Standards13 and Chinese Standards14 World Bank
For better understanding and explanation please read through Kla’ak edition 42, pg. 9 and references therein http://www.gdfao.gov.cn/english/news/guangdong/200802270021.htm 10 For more information read through the NTN report available from www.laohamutuk.org 11 Project Outline pag. 48-51 12 These standards were announced by President Horta in his speech “ “Timor-Leste, Challenges in Nation-Building and Peace Consolidation” Address Building to the Security Council New York, 19th February 2009 13 World Bank (2008).Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines for Thermal Power Plants Environmental, 14 Boiler air pollutant discharge standards” 01313271-2001 and “Air Pollutant Emission Standards for Thermal Power Plant” 2001 G1313223-2003
P R O P O S E D M I T I G A T I O N T E C H N O L O G Y 15
The Timorese Government has signed off a contract (No.RDTL-812931) in which its project outline mentions not only in some cases “shady” pollution abatement technology but in other inexistent technology16. Furthermore National Toxic Network has put out a report alerting to some of the environmental imbroglios signed-off by the Timorese Government. Nobody actually knows what is written in contract No.RDTL-812931, as the government has denied to provide copies National Parliament, the courts and citizens. This opens doors to the discussion of important legislation such as the “Freedom of Information”. The President says he has seen the document however he didn’t do any photocopies, therefore his Excellency could not provide any photocopies to local NGOs17. B R I T T L E P O W E R 18 As rightfully pointed out by La’o Hamutuk, the way in which the power grid is designed is over centralized, thus making it frail, in theory, a malfunction in one of the power stations (some that happens very often in Timor-Leste in case you haven’t notice) with switch off 1/3 of the country. Furthermore the grid design is not able co-opt the alternative energy such as wind, geothermal, gas. FUELING
I have put forward a series of renewable energy alternatives (some of which the next two speaker will mention) to government officials as a way of showing that Timor-Leste has other clean energy alternatives.
Table 2. Alternative 1 a series of decentralized hydroelectric plants
Lautem Atasabe Ossu Soibada Airnaro Laclo I
Iralalaro Magapu River Kuiña River Buarahun River Be lulik River River system
28 MW 11 MW 11 MW 12 MW 19 MW 20 MW
For more information read through Kla’ak edition 43, 13 April, page 8-9 and references therein Ibid. 17 Meeting between Rui Pinto and Dr. José Ramos-Horta, 19th June 18 For more information please refer to La’o Hamutuk’s bulletins
Laco II Laclo II
River system River system
24 MW 8.5 MW
The President Office has received a copy of a proposal put forward by Lotus mentioning a series of feasible sites to establish wind farms (Figure 2)19 nonetheless, the Office has approved the 2009 budget allocation for this over expensive and polluting project.
Figure 4- Image take out of the Lotus wind studies signaling the possibility of feasible wind power farms.
Besides that, Timor-Leste does not produce any HFO, which means that the country would become dependent on suppliers such as IPALO20, PUALAKA21 and most of the money would go abroad. ISSUES ENFORCEMENT E X I S T I N G L A W 22
In accordance to Timor-Leste’s legislation the Government bound by law to commission a Environment Impact Assessment before starting any of the works. The Prime Minister refused to do follow the legislation as he was tired of conducting studies23. Based on the legislation the Government can be taken to court and the Prime Minister and/or the Minister for Infrastructure may face imprisonment for not complying with the environmental legislation. ISSUES I N T E R N A T I O N A L E N V I R O N M E N T A L A G R E E M E N T S 24
Timor-Leste has ratified Kyoto and signed a series of international environmental agreements. In accordance to these documents the Government of Timor-Leste is bound to reduce emissions and ensure that the choices do not compromise the future generations. This Project is in clear breach of
This document has been leaked to the media and since some government officials have denied the existence of such studies. Managed by the husband of another prominent Minister 21 With notorious share holders such as Minister of Justice’s husband 22 Kla’ak edition 44, pg. 4 and references therein 23 Prime Ministers speech in National Parliament 24 Kla’ak edition 43, pg. 6 and references therein
all international environmental agreements, despite so, and despite having been warned by National Parliament the Government chose to continue with this project. Government officials have given their interpretations of what is “legal binding” and what is not and have categorically announced that Timor-Leste has no intend of following the international conventions nor has the obligation to ensure less polluting sources of energy generation25. RECOMMENDATIONS 1. Transparency and accountability All documents referring to the Heavy Fuel Oil Power should be made available to •
• • •
Presidents office National Parliament Civil society groups (local and international NGOs with offices, or MOU with local NGOs) Courts The rule of Law
Government should enforce and abide-by the • subsidiary legislation (Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Management) as well as International agreements (UNCBD, UNFCC, Kyoto Protocol)
Interview with the Secretary of State for the Environment, “TL La Iha Obrigasaun Hatun Emisaun Oliu Pezadu” [Timor-Leste does not have any obligations to reduce the emissions generate by Power Plants] edition 08219, Thursday, 19th March 2009,
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