Sumba’s designation as iconic island came as a direct result of HIVOS and Winrock’s research in 2010. The island’s huge potentials in renewable biogas (from live-stocks), water, wind, and solar energy would clearly benefit its population of 656,259 (2010) but are as yet to be fully harvested.

Despite an abundance of identifiable renewable energy source, like the rest of the country development and capacity has lagged behind –particularly when compared to the use of diesel-fuel, which continues to be the main source of energy running Indonesia’s electricity plants.


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Sumba’s two main power grids in Waikabubak and Waingapu, respectively in the western and eastern part of the island, currently provide a total power load of 5.5 MW and a base load of 2.5 MW. The State Electricity Company, however, reported that population and economic growths in this electricity-starved island has since driven annual demands by 6% and 8%, in that order.

In 2014, ADB/Castlerock’s undertook a subsequent study to analyze the technical capacities of Sumba’s renewable energy. The Energy Resources for Grid Supply & Electricity Demand Analysis for Sumba investigated the combined optimum potential of biomass, water (from dams, rivers, and water pumps), wind, and solar energy to be developed as least-cost power-plants that respond to Sumba’s future electricity needs.

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The research also provided updated documentation on current conditions that would be useful in the planning of existing energy sources as part of least-cost mix development as well as in estimating subsidy mechanism and consumer prices based particularly on households’ willingness to pay for off-grid electricity and energy networks.