03 March 2009

East Timor Power plant information now available

Media Release from La’o Hamutuk 3 March 2009, DILI - Until now, technical information regarding the $375 million project to build heavy oil electric generating stations and a national distribution grid in Timor-Leste has been a closely kept secret. Government officials are proud of what they hope to achieve with this project. However, they have consistently refused to provide concrete documents or information about technical, contractual, physical, environmental or other aspects of this project.

In order to help Timor-Leste’s people and leaders to better understand this huge project, the NGO La’o Hamutuk has obtained a copy of the proposal made last June to the Government of Timor-Leste by Chinese Nuclear Industry 22nd Construction Company, which was awarded the contract for the project in October.

Although there have been some changes in the project since the proposal was written, including the addition of a third generating site in Hera, it provides far more information than has been available previously. The company argues strongly for using old, heavy oil generators as the cheapest and quickest route to electrification, while providing some information, often unclear and inconsistent, about plans to reduce their environmental damage.

However, the proposal and other information we have obtained from interviews and rumors raise as many questions as they answer. La’o Hamutuk will continue to collect, analyze and publish information regarding this project, and we welcome material from all sources. For it is only based on factual information – not on promises, rumors or partisan accusations – that Timor-Leste’s people and leaders will be able to make the wisest decisions for our nation’s development.

La’o Hamutuk’s analysis, links and entry page to information on this project is at
http://www.laohamutuk.org/Oil/Power/08PowerPlant.htm (English and Tetum).
The proposal from the company can be downloaded from
http://www.laohamutuk.org/Oil/Power/CHI22proposals.pdf (English only).

People in Dili without internet access can visit La’o Hamutuk’s office behind the HAK Association in Farol to obtain these and other materials.

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