Project Statement

New power lines installed in Codo, Timor Leste (2012)

Energy is an ever improving sector throughout Timor Leste. In the late 90s early 2000s there was wide spread damage to the infrastructure in Lautém including power infrastructure. Power is slowly returning to the district. In Codo new power lines have been installed in the last 12 months and houses have been reconnected. Currently the power within the village is free as the installation of the electricity meters has not yet been connected. With power being free there have been conversions of diesel and petrol generators and motors to run off mains electricity. Members of the community are curious to know if these motors will be cheaper to run off electricity or diesel / petrol once the meters are turned on and they are charged for electricity. There is also curiosity in exploring alternative cleaner energy sources.

Energy required for cooking is another area of conversation. Currently gas powered stoves or open fires are used for cooking. Gas however is expensive and rats are known to chew through the pipelines giving rise to safety concerns. The community is interested in investigating more efficient, sustainable fuels and stove designs for cooking. 

Design Projects

The following energy design projects were identified by Plan-TL and other local community based organisations: 

  • Conversion of oil/petrol engines to electricity (e.g. machines used to grind coconut).
  • Conduct a feasibility study/sensitivity analysis to determine if it is better to convert to using predominantly electricity, staying on petrol engines or finding another alternative altogether.
  • Alternative renewable energy supplies, including alternative fuels.
  • Alternative renewable, clean cooking technologies.


Design Considerations

When designing a solution, the following issues have been identified and should be considered a priority. The proposal should consider:

  • The cost of your solution. Including purchasing costs, maintenance costs, payback time, and possibly government subsidies.
  • The cost vs. benefit of your solution. Will your solution appeal to the locals, or could you convince a government that your solution is worth investing in?
  • The appropriateness of your solution to the social, economic and physical environment in the town of Codo. 
  • The reliability of your solution.





Additional Information

In Lospalos people can use a max of 2 amps / house which costs $2 per month. If you use more you need to pay more. Electricity is available 24 hours a day but there are occasional blackouts during storms. If dependancy becomes high in electricity then perhaps an alternative secondary source should be considered. At the moment electricity comes from a heavy oil power plant in Baucan but in the future it will come from a heavy oil plant in Dili. With regards to greener alternatives, solar panels are sometimes still used. There was a government initiative where they handed them out however they require high levels of maintenance and so often break and become ineffective. 

  • Petrol costs $1.30 / L, diesel is the same
  • Kero costs $2.25 / 1.5 L, and is used for cooking. There are health problems associated with this. The kero is bought in a water bottle
  • Gas costs $47 / kg and is unaffordable for most people
  • 5% of people still use candlenut


Fire wood is the most common fuel for cooking. Cooking occurs both inside and outside and there is often a separate room or kitchen for this. Smoke can sometimes be a problem.

Information for coconut shredding machines can be downloaded here or within the Resources section.