JAKARTA, June 19 (Reuters) - Indonesia plans to spend $2.1 billion laying a cable to transmit electricity from the coal-rich island of Sumatra to the densely populated island of Java, government officials said on Thursday.
The government of Southeast Asia’s largest economy hopes the cable will better distribute electricity and alleviate frequent black-outs brought about by decades of under-investment in energy infrastructure.
The cable will cross a 35 kilometre-wide portion of the Sunda Strait and will be able to transmit 500 kilovolts of electricity, Minister of National Development Planning Armida Alisjahbana told reporters after meeting with the chief economic minister.
The project has been in the works for some time but was stalled by a lack of funding, local media reported.
Alisjahbana said $1.19 billion of the required funds will come from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a body which promotes development in emerging economies.
JICA could also fund the remainder, depending on Indonesian presidential approval, Alisjahbana said.
“The power from coal-fired power plants in Sumatra must be distributed so it’s not all concentrated in Sumatra. That’s why we need the transmission cable to Java,” said Dedy Priatna, deputy planning minister. (Reporting by Fathiyah Dahrul; Writing by Eveline Danubrata; Editing by Christopher Cushing)