22 January 2010

Heavy Oil Construction Begins at Hera

Heavy Oil Construction Begins at Hera
Timor-Leste Political Leaders defend their decisions

On 15 January 2010, the Prime Minister, President of the Republic, Minister of Infrastructure and President of Parliament, together with a few ambassadors, laid the cornerstone for the Hera generating project, attended by more than 100 Government officials and a few others, although virtually nobody from civil society, international agencies or the political opposition was present. This is the first element of a system of two power plants which will be powered by heavy fuel and 800 km of high-voltage power lines. It is intended to power 12 districts within two years, and will cost probably cost more than $500 million.

A contract was signed in October 2008 with Chinese Nuclear Industry Construction Company #22, with promises to electrify the nation by the end of 2009. However, work at the Hera site was suspended in mid-2009, and major technical changes were made in the project design. It will no longer use second-hand generators, can be adapted in the future to other fuels, and will have a more reliable closed-loop grid design.

Speakers at the Hera ceremony were defensive, attacking those who suggested improvements to the project. Photographs, complete Tetum audio recordings and unofficial English and Tetum transcripts by La'o Hamutuk are available at http://www.laohamutuk.org/Oil/Power/cornerstone/10PowerHeraCornerstone.htm.

For information on heavy oil project developments during 2010, see http://www.laohamutuk.org/Oil/Power/10PowerPlant.htm
For information on heavy oil project developments during 2008-2009, see http://www.laohamutuk.org/Oil/Power/08PowerPlant.htm