Bali Gets Towering $240m to Solve Power Woes

DENPASAR

The months-long series of electricity blackouts that struck Bali multiple times daily from October last year into January may be a thing of the past as state power firm PLN gears up to provide a new — if novel — solution for the voltage-deficient island.

Recently installed PLN chief Dahlan Iskan, a dynamic private-sector businessman who owns some of the nation’s leading newspapers, announced a daring plan this week to convey electricity to Bali via what are said to be the world’s tallest pylons that will anchor power cables that will run over the Bali Strait.

The ambitious plan will see two 376-metre-high towers placed on Bali and in East Java, Iskan told reporters when unveiling the project.

The scheme is budgeted to cost US$240 million, he said, $33.3 million of which will be spent on the pylons’ construction. Bidding for contractual work is to take place next month.

The towers are to be constructed on the easternmost tip of Java, at the port town of Banyuwangi, and the westernmost part of Bali, Gilimanuk, at 10 kilometres across water the shortest distance between the two islands.

The plan will be implemented in stages. The first will be completed in 2012 and will deliver up to 500 megawatts to Bali. The project will be fully realised in 2015, when it will transmit some 1,800 megawatts of power to the island, which gets most of its electricity from Java via an undersea cable.

Last year damage to the submerged infrastructure caused severe blackouts in Bali.

China is where the world’s tallest electricity pylons are currently to be found — 346.5-metre-high towers at the Yangtze River Crossing that were built in 2003.

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