“Since the Independence times of Indonesia, it’s only today that we get to enjoy using electricity.” This statement was made during a handover ceremony on Saturday (28/9) of a Microhydro Power Plant, developed by Community Resilience and Economic Development (CaRED) programme team from Faculty of Engineering UGM.
The team consisting of Dr. Suprapto, Prof. Dr. Ir. Bambang Yulistiyanto, Dr. Ir. T. Aris Sunantyo, M.Sc., and Dr. Ir. Prajitno, M.T. was assisted by a team from Universitas Tadulako and Central Sulawesi Provincial Government.
“The handover is done exactly one year after the major disaster that hit Pasigala in Central Sulawesi,” said Dean of the Faculty, Prof. Nizam, on Sunday (29/9).
Nizam said the construction of the power plant was for meeting electricity needs in locations currently not covered by the state electricity company due to remote and inaccessible locations. Nizam said children could now do studies at night because of the micro hydro plant.
“The local people hoped the future of their children can get brighter due to the micro hydro plant,” he said.
Team chairman, Dr.Ir. Suprapto Siswosukarto, said the Lewara village consisted of five hamlets that had never been electrified before. The UGM plant lies 200 meter from the homes. The Lewara I hamlet has 100 households and 300 people. The power plant utilises the river of Lewara to electrify the hamlet.
“We make use of the Lewara stream to generate power at a 10 kilowatts capacity,” said Suprapto.
Suprapto said the people of Lewara had long dreamed of having electricity in their village. Therefore, UGM cooperated with New Zealand Government to build underdeveloped areas in East Indonesia.
Lewara lies in West Marawola district of Sigi regency on the hillsides of Matantimali which is 2,000 meter above sea level. The place is just 90 kilometer away from the Central Sulawesi capital, Palu, but is difficult to access. You need to ride for an hour from Palu up to the last road accessible by car in Matantimali village. Then, you have to take a special motorcycle taxi for 30 minutes to go through a rocky, narrow path. The trip has to be taken along a bumpy, up and down path as well as steep bends on the slopes of Matantimali hills in addition to the ravine on one side. During the rainy season, it is more difficult to access because the area is prone to landsliding.