Coal rules the present, but diversification is the future2 April 2018
Indonesias’s ambitious renewable energy plans have undergone some downwards revision in the last year with nuclear and gas options now serious contenders to fill the likely shortfall. Leonard Sanford
Indonesia has huge deposits of coal, it is a major exporter of the fuel and the major part of its generation capacity is based on coal plants. Its importance to the economy of the 263 million strong country is hard to overestimate. Alongside that is the difficulty in carbon efficiency terms of supplying power to its 900 inhabited islands out of 13 000 spread over nearly 2 million square miles of ocean. Nonetheless Indonesia has embarked on a series of projects aimed at less carbon intensive fuel use and the introduction of a range of low carbon intensity technologies. Its ambitious energy targets include a mandatory renewable share of 23% by 2025, up from only 6% in 2015.
Contributing to this scheme is the Tolo 1 onshore wind project, a 72 MW wind farm scheduled for commissioning early this year. It will be supplied under an EPC contract by Siemens Gamesa which has secured its first order in Indonesia for twenty of its gearless SWT-3.6-130 wind turbines. The wind power plant has been developed by Equis Energy, the largest renewable energy independent power producer in the Asia-Pacific region. Commissioning is planned for early 2018.
Nuclear steps in
Since the National Energy Policy was published in 2014 it has undergone something of a rethink with the admission by the energy ministry that a more realistic renewables figure for 2025, based on current projections, would be 10%. Now a new Ministry of Energy regulation ending the subsidised feed-in-tariff has suggested to many analysts that renewable energy generation will only reach 8% by 2025.
Other options are available to meet the shortfall. In July last year the MoE started a consultation over the use of nuclear power, which had in the 2014 Policy document been placed as a last resort technology. The changes that have occurred since have brought it to the top of the list, with the support of parliament.
Accordingly the State electricity company PT PLN has revived Indonesia’s earlier ambition to operate nuclear power plants, putting nuclear, specifically thorium-based reactors, in its 2017-2026 new business plan as a viable option but awaiting government approval of nuclear technology. To date only ThorCon Power, an American nuclear start-up, has make a concrete and serious offer to the Indonesian government.
Coal new build
Coal plant construction has not stopped in Indonesia. The Japanese company Itochu is to build two coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 200 MW that will be constructed on the sites of existing power facilities in the country’s northern island of Kalimantan. And PT PLN currently has the Kalselteng-2 coal fired power plant under construction in the South Kalimantan province of Kalimantan Island. Building work has commenced and is expected to be completed in 2020. The project is an expansion of the existing coal fired plant (4x65 MW) located in the province, with the construction of Units 5 and 6.
On a grander scale, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems has started construction of the 1000 MW Cirebon coal-fired power plant expansion project. Work will be carried out, on a full turnkey basis, on a new high efficiency ultrasupercritical pressure power plant in West Java province by a consortium of MHPS, Toshiba Group and Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. Under the EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) contract, MHPS will supply the plant’s ultrasupercritical pressure boiler and flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) system. The plant is scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2022.
Gas firing in CC mode
In July last year Indonesia Power awarded a consortium of GE, Marubeni and Hutama Karya an EPC contract for the Tambak Lorok combined cycle plant Block 3 project. The plant is scheduled to begin operations in mid 2020 and will add 780 MW of electricity to the Java grid. Tambak Lorok will be the largest power project developed in IP’s history, one of the first in the region to use GE’s HA gas turbine technology, and a significant contributor to Indonesia’s 35 GW programme to increase substantially the country’s electricity supply.