Jakarta, 24 November 2022- To be aligned with the GHG emission reduction target according to the Paris Agreement, the government and PLN need to achieve a renewable energy mix of up to 41% in the electricity system by 2030. However, until today the Indonesian government has only targeted 25% of the renewable energy mix by 2030. Technological innovation, competitive prices for renewable energy, and the potential for coal-fired power plants (CFPP) to become stranded assets are qualified factors for higher renewable energy penetration in eight years.
The Institute for Essential Services Reform issued its latest report entitled “Enabling high share of renewable energy in Indonesia’s power system by 2030” which analyzes the 2021-2030 electricity development plan (RUPTL), technological advances and prices, changes in fuel prices, and projections of electricity demand to provide more opportunities towards the integration of renewable energy into the electricity network in Indonesia. This study is based on the scenario of Indonesia’s energy system achieving net zero emissions in 2050, which is aligned with the target of limiting temperature rise below 1.5°C per the Paris Agreement. In this scenario, electricity growth is assumed to reach 4.5% and added to the additional electricity demand from accelerated electrification in the transportation and industrial sectors (heating).
Using a similar power system optimization model with PLN, IESR found that the capacity of renewable energy in the power grid in 2030 could be increased to 129 GW of renewable energy with 112.1 GW coming from solar energy, 9.2 GW hydropower, 5.2 GW geothermal, 1.5 GW wind turbine, and 1 GW of biomass in the combined Java-Bali, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi systems. The renewable energy mix in the electricity sector is also projected to reach 32%, 35%, 35% and 51% respectively in the Java-Bali, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi systems. Solar energy is dominant because of its highest potential, cheapest cost, and fastest installation period in any area, either on a roof or floating.
Meanwhile, the electricity mix from coal-fired power plants will significantly decrease to only 39% in the same year. Moreover, to overcome the variability and intermittency of renewable energy and maintain system reliability, Indonesia can optimize gas-fired power plants and build energy storage (batteries).
The findings from this study are far greater than the renewable energy in the 2021-2030 RUPTL, which only targets 20.9 GW.
“The results of this IESR study are very relevant to the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) agreement that was announced at the G20. The target of JETP is a 34% renewable energy mix in 2030. Through this study, it is shown that the penetration of renewable energy generators in our electricity system is possible without impacting system reliability and electricity production costs,” said Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR.
The results of the IESR analysis show that even with high penetration of renewable energy, the reserve margin (the percentage of additional installed capacity to annual peak demand) remains at PLN’s ideal limit of at least around 30%. This study also conducts a power flow analysis and analysis of system frequency stability in the Java-Bali and Sulawesi electricity systems in 2030. As a result, it requires upgrading several substations so that power can be distributed properly. However, this need can be minimized by distributing the development of renewable energy generators. Frequency stability was still achieved and complied with Indonesia’s grid code.
One of the keys to integrating renewable energy is increasing the flexibility of network operations, including implementing a flexible CFPP operation.
“Renewable energy’s intermittency is a challenge, but there are many strategic options that can be studied to be implemented in Indonesia. For instance, by using energy storage such as batteries and also more accurately forecasting renewable energy. System operations need to be changed to accommodate this,” said Akbar Bagaskara, Main Author of the Enabling high share of renewable energy in Indonesia’s power system by 2030 report.
The capacity of the transmission and distribution network also needs to be increased to ensure a smooth supply of electricity from renewable energy, especially in the Java-Bali and Sulawesi systems.
IESR views that higher integration of renewable energy in the electricity system needs to be encouraged by policymakers in Indonesia by issuing regulations that support the acceleration of renewable energy development, accelerate electrification in the industrial sector, stipulate flexible PLTU operating regulations, and support the development of the domestic solar panel industry.
Furthermore, PLN as an electricity utility company needs to actively develop infrastructure and network operations to become more flexible network operations to enable high integration of renewable energy.
“There is a need to change the operating paradigm of the electricity system to flexible operation, no longer baseload. Of course, it is necessary to develop an operating framework for an electricity system that can provide incentives for assets that can provide services to maintain network reliability or ancillary services. The design of this framework needs to be prepared from now on so that it is ready to be implemented when the renewable energy mix begins to grow rapidly,” explained Deon Arinaldo, Manager of the Energy Transformation Program, IESR.