Mansinam, in West Papua Province, Indonesia, is an island of immense religious and historical significance.
 iconic monument in Mansinam Island, West Papua, Indonesia © Greenpeace/Shailendra Yashwant
 iconic monument in Mansinam Island, West Papua, Indonesia © Greenpeace/Shailendra Yashwant
Located in the Gulf of Doreh, just south of Manokwari Regency, the island is the site where the first European Christian Missionaries  landed in Papua in 1855 to preach Christianity to the island’s indigenous people.  Their arrival spurred the conversion of much of Papua to Christianity.

Every year on February 5, Christian Papuans celebrate Gospel Landing Day to mark the arrival of the Bible in Papua by  going on a pilgrimage to Mansinam Island.

This year the celebrations are a little different – Papuans arrive at the church and the cross memorial which is now entirely powered by renewable energy.  To mark Gospel Landing Day, Greenpeace has launched a pilot project promoting renewable energy in the island.

Greenpeace campaigner and volunteer install solar panels at an iconic monument in Mansinam Island, West Papua, Indonesia ©Greenpeace/Shailendra Yashwant

The installation, a 1 kilowatt solar-wind hybrid energy system, will power the sound system, as well as the lighting in the church and in the island’s iconic cross monument. With a renewable energy-based system, the church, the center of community life in Mansinam, will not have to rely on diesel or fossil fuels for energy, and instead will harness the sun and wind right there in their own island.

The project, conceived as an initiative that is meant to spur similar projects and stimulate and advance sustainable development in Papua, is meant to showcase how renewable energy works for the benefit of communities.

Greenpeace is putting forward a vision of green and clean development in the island.  Only such a vision, once taken on collaboratively by the local and national governments, industry, and civil society, together with the local populace, can see Papua through toward equitable progress unlimited by dirty energy.

Although Papua island abounds with natural resources, it is the poorest region in Indonesia.  Only 30.65% of the villages in Papua are electrified, well below the 2011 government target of 65% electrification ratio for all regions in Indonesia.

Papua currently faces a choice: to opt for sustainable and equitable progress powered by renewable energy or to be locked within a dirty fossil-fueled system which brings staggering gains only to a select few while imperiling the health and lives of the majority.

Greenpeace believes that with its current need to be electrified, its geographical condition and scattered communities, Papua is the perfect model for decentralized renewable energy grids that are ready to be harnessed today in order to power the future.

The project is part of Greenpeace’s call for an Energy Revolution in Indonesia.  The Greenpeace Energy [R]evolution published by Greenpeace together with the Engineering Center of the University of Indonesia (UI) and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC),  is a detailed, practical blueprint for cutting carbon emissions while achieving economic growth by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, decentralized smart girds and energy efficiency technologies.