Full Steam Ahead as PLN Targets Geothermal Power

Source: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/naturalresources/full-steam-ahead-as-pln-targets-geothermal-power/489617

Jakarta Globe | January 06, 2012


State-owned power producer Perusaahan Listrik Negara expects to generate an additional 135 megawatts of electricity from its three geothermal power plants that are set to go online this year as part of its plans to boost capacity across the nation.

Muhammad Sofyan, director of renewable energy at the state utility provider known as PLN, said on Friday that it expected to operate three new geothermal power plants this year. They include the 110 megawatt Ulubelu plant in Lampung, Sumatra; a 20 MW plant in Lahendong, North Sulawesi; and a 5 MW plant in Manggarai, West Flores.

Sofyan said the Ulubelu plant was expected to start operating by October. Pertamina Geothermal Energy will provide steam for the plant at a cost of 4.3 cents per kilowatt hour, he said.

PGE is a unit of state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina, and it provides steam at other PLN facilities in the country.

The Lahendong plant will similarly work with PGE, Sofyan said, and it should begin operating in February.

Sofyan said the Ulumbu plant would also become operational in February. PLN, he said, would provide the steam for the Ulumbu geothermal plant.

PLN is responsible for improving access to electricity and reducing power outages that are common in many parts of Indonesia.

The country’s electrification rate, which indicates what percentage of households have access to power, is forecast to increase to 75 percent this year from 71 percent last year, PLN said.

PLN is working to provide 20 MW of power from renewable energy sources on remote islands such as Mentawai, Riau and Bangka-Belitung.

Indonesia is an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, and many volcanoes stretch across major islands such as Sumatra and Java along a range that makes it desirable to tap these geothermal sources for the production of electricity.

Renewable energy also includes production of electricity from water, wind and solar.

Indonesia, a nation of 240 million people, had power-generation capacity at as much as 28,462 MW as of the end of last year, according to PLN data.

Coal-powered plants account for around 42.2 percent of that capacity, with diesel-fired plants 23.7 percent, gas 22 percent, hydropower plants 6.7 percent and geothermal and other renewable energy at 5.4 percent.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered the Energy Ministry to boost the country’s electricity capacity by implementing a 20,000 MW fast-track program. The program aims to boost the nation’s electrification rate to 80.24 percent by 2014.

Late last month, Yudhoyono inaugurated three coal-fired plants and broke ground on the upgrade of an oil refinery, facilities that are intended to help the country cope with rapidly rising demand for fuel and electricity.

Yudhoyono launched three power plants, two in Banten province and one in Central Java, via teleconference. The three plants have a total production capacity of 1,600 MW and are expected to consume 6.5 million tons of coal annually.

An employee walking along a thermal pipe at the Kamojang geothermal power plant near Garut, West Java, on March 18. State utility provider Perusahaan Listrik Negara is targeting an additional 135 megawatts of electricity from three new geothermal plants.