Thursday, November 21, 2013

East Timor's Hera Power Plant - mega-project or 'mega problem'?

The new jetty and entry post at Hera Power Plant near Dili - just across the road
from the electricity producer. Photo: David Robie/PMC
THE TIMOR-LESTE capital Dili's main heavy oil power plant at Hera, about 15 km on the eastern side of the city, still remains at the centre of controversy.

A fact-based page by the advocacy group La'o Hamutuk (Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis) cites many critical performance reports and is headed: "Mega-project or mega problem?"

Little has been in the public domain in recent months, but according to review documents cited by LH last year, the supervising consultancy ELC/Bonifica said in a report in January 2012 on the construction phase:

"The overall performance of the Contractor CNI22 [Chinese Nuclear Industry Construction Company No. 22 [responsible for the high-voltage national transmission grid], remains poor in particular for the quality of finishing works. Despite of continuous warnings done by the Consultant [E/B], the situation does not improve."

A separate report also said three (out of seven) generating sets from the Hera plant were operating, using diesel fuel unloaded at Tibar port to the west of Dili.

The Falintil-FDTL guard on 'mobile duty'
at Hera Power Plant when Cafe Pacific
visited.  Shortly after, he was asleep
and only his semi-automatic rifle could be
observed. Photo: David Robie/PMC
"During January 2012, the Hera plant consumed 3.7 million litres of high-speed diesel fuel, with around 100,000 litres being trucked across Dili to Hera almost every day."

The LH monitoring page also has more recent reports from this year on questions over the operation of the plant.

In a casual visit to the Hera lines construction depot next door by Cafe Pacific this week, the security guard was asleep. In response to a request to take a series of photos, this blog was referred to on-site Chinese staff whose status was unclear. They said: "You need official permission from the government."

Photographs were taken anyway. Some of the images are here and others are in the Timor-Leste gallery on David Robie's media Facebook page.

Visiting the Hera power plant itself, the soldier on duty also fell asleep.
Road blocks and sentry box outside the Hera Power Plant near Dili.
Photo: David Robie/PMC

Hera Power Plant in Timor-Leste. Photo: David Robie/PMC

The Hera Power Plant construction depo ... the security guard was asleep.
Photo: David Robie/PMC

A mikrolet (local 'bus') picking up passengers at Hera Power Plant
in Timor-Leste. Photo: David Robie/PMC
A Chinese safety sign in the Hera Power Plant lines depot.
Photo: David Robie/PMC

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