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Indonesia | Dam that would flood critical habitat for orangutans unneeded: conservationists

JAKARTA — Proponents of a hydropower plant to be built in the only known habitat of a critically endangered orangutan species say it’s important for meeting the future energy needs of northern Sumatra. But a new report says this region of Indonesia is already almost fully electrified, and that the new plant will do virtually nothing to improve that.

The report from energy consultancy Brown Brothers Energy and Environment (B2E2) was commissioned by various NGOs, including environmental advocacy group Mighty Earth, which has been a vocal opponent of the dam. It cites official data to show that North Sumatra province, home to the Batang Toru forest where the dam and power plant are to be built, already has one of the highest electrification rates in Indonesia: nearly 96% of the population had basic and stable access to electricity in 2016, compared to the more developed major provinces of East Java (89%) and Bali (92%).

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