Navigating Water Illuminates the Plains of Sriwijaya

Palembang, February 27, 2024 – The Jelajah Energi South Sumatra group was welcomed by the thunderous sound of the fast-flowing Endikat River and the cloudy weather upon their arrival at Muara Endikat, also known as the mouth of the Cawang River, in Singapore Village, Kota Agung District, Lahat Regency, South Sumatra. This region is known for its breathtaking natural beauty and has significant potential to provide electrical energy for the local population.

Located about a 1 to 1.5-hour drive away from Pagar Alam City, the Jelajah Energi South Sumatra group reached PLTMH Green Lahat. This Mini Hydro Power Plant (MHP) has been operational since 2015 and has an electrical energy production capacity of 3×3.3 Megawatts (MW), making its total capacity 9.9 MW.

“7 MW of the total energy produced is allocated to meet the electricity needs of Pagar Alam City, while the remaining 30% is distributed to Lahat Regency,” said Kastiono, plant manager of Green Lahat MHP. 

Next to MHP Green Lahat, MHP Endikat (both under the parent company PT Manggala Gita Karya) has also been built with a 3 x 2.67 MW capacity, which will be operational in 2022. The two independent power producers (IPPs) utilize the flow of the Endikat River to produce electrical energy that is sold to PLN and used later by the community.

Kastiono explained that before the construction of the MHP, the residents residing around the power plant in Pagar Alam City and Lahat Regency used to experience a drop in electricity voltage. The poor quality of electricity was influenced by various factors, including the power plant’s location being too far from the substation, which led to unstable voltage. Additionally, Kastiono admits that the electricity production from MHP Green Lahat depends on the conditions around the river upstream.

“The most crucial aspect is the greening of the upstream. Everything must be controlled, and there should be no illegal logging. However, the responsibility of maintaining forest cover in the watershed also involves other agencies,” he said.

Rizqi Mahfud Prasetyo, Project Coordinator of Sub National, Sustainable Energy Access, IESR mentioned that according to IESR’s study, Indonesia has 27.8 GW of MHP/MH potential, of which 287.7 MW is located in South Sumatra. 

“In addition to increasing the renewable energy mix in PLN’s electricity. MHP can improve the quality of energy access for people who may not have been reached by the PLN network,” Rizqi said.

Rizqi also added that the geography and topography of some of Indonesia’s contoured areas allow for the existence of river flows and river drops. River flow has the potential to be utilized as a power plant, one of which is in PLTM Green Lahat which utilizes the Endikat river flow.

The presence of MHP Green Lahat and MHP Endikat instills a sense of hope in the communities of South Sumatra by providing dependable electrical energy and bolstering the infrastructure and local economy. These micro-hydro power plants are expected to continue to offer sustainable benefits to the community and the environment in the long run.

Indonesia’s Electricity Challenges, How to Overcome Excess Electricity Supply?

Fabby Tumiwa di Kompas Bisnis dengan topik ‘PLN Kelebihan Listrik, Negara Jangan Sampai Rugi’ pada Rabu (11/10/2023)

Jakarta, 11 October 2023 – Indonesia, one of the world’s largest developing countries, faces challenges in its electricity sector. The State Electricity Company (PLN), responsible for electricity supply, is now struggling with an oversupply. Several factors have contributed, including announcing the 35-gigawatt coal-fired power plant (CFPP) megaproject 2015. During the Kompas Bisnis program on Wednesday (11/10/2023), Fabby Tumiwa, the Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), emphasized this issue with the topic ‘PLN having excess electricity, the country should not suffer losses.’ 

Fabby Tumiwa mentioned that PLN, the Indonesian state-owned electricity company, has a 10-year plan that includes electricity projections and generating capacity that must be built. Looking back at the electricity supply in Indonesia, Fabby noted that before 2014, there was a deficit in the electricity supply due to the growth rate outpacing the development of electricity infrastructure. To address this, a 35 thousand gigawatts (GW) program was initiated in 2015 with a target of economic demand reaching 7% based on the national medium-term development plan (RPJMN). As a result, electricity demand is projected to grow by around 8%.

“Since 2015, our economy has experienced an average growth of around 5%, failing to reach 7%. Similarly, the growth in electricity generation did not exceed 5% annually until 2019. This is a cause for concern because even though the 35 GW program has been implemented, the projections for its success are not very precise,” said Fabby Tumiwa.

Fabby emphasized that the oversupply of electricity in Indonesia is a burden for PLN due to the take-or-pay scheme in their contracts. This means that PLN has to pay for electricity regardless of whether it is used by independent power producers (IPPs). However, the supply side of the issue is being resolved by cutting more than 13 GW of generating capacity in the 2021-2030 general plan for electricity supply (RUPTL). To prevent similar cases, IESR has recommended halting the development of around 3 GW of capacity currently in the pipeline.

Fabby Tumiwa
Fabby Tumiwa on Kompas Bisnis with topic ‘PLN Kelebihan Listrik, Negara Jangan Sampai Rugi’ on Wednesday (11/10/2023)

“According to PLN, every 1 GW PLN can lose around Rp 3 trillion. However, each power plant has a different contract. Unfortunately, there is no other way to absorb excess electricity; we must increase electricity demand. The demand for electricity increase in 2022 seems to have started to be high, around 5.5%. However, we need to catch up with growth above 7% through electricity demand from households and industries,” said Fabby. 

Fabby explained that the excess electricity is largest in Sumatra and Java, absorbing more than 90% of electricity consumption nationally. Mainly in Java, the electrification ratio averages 100%. However, there is a gap in the electrification ratio in eastern parts of Indonesia, such as NTT, NTB, and Papua.

“Currently, the electrification ratio outside Java is not 100%, while there is excess electricity in Java. The main problem is the cost of generating capacity and constructing electricity networks in remote areas. For instance, providing electricity access to a single house in the 3T area costs Rp10 million to Rp100 million. However, the purchasing power of households in these areas is quite low,” Fabby said.

Integration of Larger Renewable Energy Capacities Requires Energy System Reform

press release

Jakarta, September 19, 2023 – The Indonesia Clean Energy Forum (ICEF) and the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) are urging Indonesia to reform its electricity system to accommodate the integration of larger capacities of renewable energy, particularly solar and wind, also known as variable renewable energy (VRE). This would involve flexible operation of the electricity system, strengthening VRE forecasting capabilities, and revitalizing the network infrastructure.

There are at least three key considerations. Firstly, incentives for players involved in operating a flexible electricity system. Secondly, transparency in the procurement processes for renewable energy generation and network infrastructure. Thirdly, regulatory reforms to accommodate flexible electricity system operation and encourage greater adoption of renewable energy.

The opportunity to reform Indonesia’s electricity system with a larger share of renewable energy capacity requires substantial investment support. Hasyim Daeng Barang, Director of Mineral and Coal Downstream at the Ministry of Investment and BKPM RI, stated that investor interest in renewable energy development in Indonesia is growing. The ministry is committed to facilitating investor needs, especially regarding the initiation of new renewable energy projects, by coordinating and connecting investors with relevant stakeholders.

“The Ministry of Investment/BKPM is also working to provide comprehensive information to investors through the preparation of Investment Projects Ready to Offer, including pre-feasibility study documents for strategic projects in various regions,” explained Hasyim during the second day of the Indonesia Energy Transition Dialogue 2023 on Tuesday (9/19/23).

Furthermore, BKPM emphasizes that alongside promoting investment in potential/priority sectors, sustainability remains the responsibility of the entire economy.

In his presentation, Michael Waldron, Senior Advisor Program Manager at the International Energy Agency (IEA), introduced six stages of VRE integration into the electricity system. According to Michael, Indonesia, with its current VRE mix still below 1%, is in the first stage of VRE integration. This means that VRE operation has a very minor impact on the electricity system. However, future planning should significantly consider a higher VRE mix as the cost of VRE generation has been declining over the past decade.

Regarding the electricity system’s prices and investment costs in Indonesia, Michael believes they are still above international market rates. This makes renewable energy development economically less attractive in Indonesia. He encourages Indonesia to reduce costs through contract and operational reforms within the electricity system to attract more investments. Inter-island electricity network integration connects renewable energy sources with demand centers. He added that contract and operational reforms should also target conventional power plants, such as coal-fired, which can play a role in flexible electricity system operation.

He believes that progress in interconnection within ASEAN and flexible energy system operation in Indonesia will accelerate emissions reduction and cost savings.

“Indonesia’s energy system can prepare for a larger share of renewable energy through new contracts, providing incentives for investments in the electricity network, developing system flexibility strategies, and adapting network planning and operation to maximize the share of variable renewable energy and establish a vision for a smart grid,” Waldron expressed.

Munawwar Furqan, General Manager of PLN Unit Induk Pusat Pengatur Beban Jawa, Madura, and Bali (PLN UIP2B Jamali), mentioned that renewable energy generation with variable energy variations is currently located in Sulawesi, consisting of 5 renewable energy generators with a total capacity of 170 MW, including Likupang SPP (15 MW), Sumulata SPP (2 MW), Sidrap WPP (77 MW), and Tolo (Jeneponto) (66 MW). However, Munawwar pointed out that they have identified several challenges in operating an energy system accommodating variable renewable energy, including the intermittent nature of renewable energy affecting the system, changing reliability, and frequency.

“Several strategies are being implemented to control the intermittency of variable renewable energy, such as revising the grid code for network users, forecasting and load curtailment for system stability, and installing battery energy storage systems. Forecasting capacity is essential for operating generators with variable renewable energy to manage variability and anticipate it,” he explained.

Deon Arinaldo, Energy Transformation Program Manager at IESR, suggested that relevant parties should inventory weather forecast data to make more accurate forecasting and more efficient renewable energy generation investment planning.


“Collaboration with other parties like BMKG for weather forecasts is important and potential. Actual weather conditions in each location must be considered. The availability of weather forecast data on solar radiation for the public is crucial as it will benefit many parties. Accurate data forms the basis for system flexibility, allowing us to assess battery needs, variable renewable energy variations, and more,” Deon stated.

Highlighting energy storage to support renewable energy integration, Indonesia, through the Indonesia Battery Corporation (IBC), is increasingly concerned about Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) plans or technology for storing electrical energy using specialized batteries. BESS will store excess energy from renewable energy systems to supply loads when renewable energy sources cannot generate power.

“Several factors contribute to the success of BESS projects, including technology, competitiveness, price, innovation, and market growth. Battery prices continue to decline and are expected to fall below $200/kWh, so we are optimistic that BESS development is the right moment for Indonesia’s future,” said Bayu Yudhi Hermawan, VP Business Development at Indonesia Battery Corporation (IBC).

IBC is building an integrated industry from upstream to downstream to produce battery cells for electric vehicles, including cars and motorcycles. Indonesia has significant potential as the world’s largest nickel producer, the primary raw material for electric vehicle batteries.

“Therefore, IBC is currently working on nickel-based projects, primarily for the downstream ecosystem of electric vehicles and batteries. Concerning capability investments, we believe we can compete with other countries. Our resources are number one globally regarding reserves and nickel production,” Bayu stated.

CNBC | ASEAN Will Shine Brightly in 2040

The comparison of the number of electrified household customers with the total number of households, known as the electrification ratio, especially in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), has experienced a significant increase in recent years.

Baca selengkapnya di CNBC.

Challenges and Opportunities: Encouraging Equal Access to Electricity in Indonesia

Jakarta, August 22, 2023 – Indonesia, as an archipelagic country with various geographical and demographic conditions, faces complex challenges in realizing equal access to electricity for all its residents. Despite significant progress in the energy sector over the past few years, the national electricity grid still needs to cover many remote and inland areas. In facing this challenge, the government is responsible for bridging the electricity access gap to provide economic and social benefits to all citizens.

Deon Arinaldo, Manager of the Energy Transformation Program IESR, explained equity in access to electricity and electricity quality is by the national energy policy, namely PP 79 of 2014, which clearly states that the national energy policy aims to create national energy security and independence. One of the priorities in the KEN is prioritizing energy development and utilization of existing resources in the country for communities or parties who do not have access to energy, be it electricity or others.

“For that, we need a proven strategy. For example, developing an isolated off-grid African system is not connected to a large network. Still, it is built specifically to electrify a certain area, utilizing the renewable energy available. However, this strategy certainly has advantages and disadvantages. Access to electricity should have the spirit of not only providing access to electricity but also how access to electricity can provide opportunities for people who get access to improve their quality of life and boost the economy in the region,” said Deon Arinaldo in the webinar Road to IETD: Energy Transition in Equality of National Electrification.

Alvin Putra Sisdwinugraha, Electricity System and Renewable Energy Analyst IESR mentioned the electrification ratio is unable to answer questions related to accessibility, reliability, as well as capacity, and quality. For this reason, it is necessary to use the Multi-Tier Framework (MTF), which is a spectrum of service quality from the point of view of end-users.

“For example, IESR has conducted MTF assessments in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) and East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), and the results are still limited to Tier 1-2, namely electricity is not available for 24 hours and is limited. So an evaluation method is needed to integrate the quality of electricity service as a key indicator of achievement related to energy access. This requires coordination between institutions such as the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, PLN, the Ministry of Villages, and the Regional Government/Provincial Government,” said Alvin. ‘

Reflecting on this, said Alvin, IESR is trying to push the paradigm “Beyond 100%,” where access to electricity and energy is not only seen from the electrification ratio. However, there needs to be a paradigm shift in providing access to power, which is reflected in the energy development plan. The energy in question is for fair and equal development for all people.

Rachmat Mardiana, Director of Electricity, Telecommunications and Informatics, Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas stated, with Indonesia’s desire to reach a developed country or get out of the middle-income trap, meeting electricity needs is also a challenge in the direction of regional development in every island in Indonesia. If you look at the territorial issue of electricity, the geographical conditions of Indonesia, which is an archipelagic country spread across, pose a challenge to providing good electricity services. For this reason, several transformative efforts in electricity can be carried out, such as accelerating the energy transition, reforming subsidies, and increasing the efficiency of electricity utilization.

“Efforts to electrify Indonesia are also inseparable from the potential for renewable energy in Indonesia, such as solar, hydro, bioenergy, wind, geothermal, and sea. This is also supported by reduced investment costs so that it can be implemented in remote areas. Collaborative efforts are needed between the government, the community, BUMN, and experts to carry out national electrification equity. Bappenas, together with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), has developed a model to electrify eastern Indonesia, such as Maluku, Papua, and Nusa Tenggara, whose data sources come from satellite imagery. The main goal is to reduce the required initial investment costs, “said Rahmat.

Marlistya Citraningrum, Manager of the Sustainable Energy Access Program IESR, stated that having electricity or having access to electricity is an essential service for the community for welfare. For this reason, the definition of the electrification ratio needs to be updated, so there is no definition beyond connection. This means having electricity means receiving enough electricity for daily activities, productive activities, and other essential services for the welfare of society.

“Currently, there is Presidential Decree No. 11 of 2023, which gives more authority to local governments, especially the development of renewable energy. Then the next implementation is the program design or what kind of plan is suitable for providing renewable energy to the local area in seeking access to electricity. With decentralization, all energy source options from PLN, the central government, and local governments can be explored to improve quality so that it is hoped that access will be easy, reliable, and of good quality,” said Marlistya.

According to Lambas Richard Pasaribu, the VP of Development at Lisdes and Isolated Systems PLN, the national electrification ratio in Indonesia has reached 99.72% as of June 2023. However, there are still challenges in providing equal access to electricity, primarily due to limited infrastructure, such as roads and bridges. This is especially true in isolated and remote areas, particularly in eastern Indonesia. In some cases, no jetties are available, meaning that materials have to be dumped overboard and transported to the location by electrical contractor workers.

“To provide more rural areas with access to electricity, PLN collaborates with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) and local governments, particularly in Disadvantaged, Frontier, and Outermost (3T) regions, to create regional infrastructure and work plans for electricity development. This teamwork is considered effective since establishing basic infrastructure can decrease the cost of constructing electricity infrastructure, allowing more villages to be connected to electricity,” said Lambas.

Sandra Winarsa, Manager of the Hivos Green Energy (Sumba) Project said ensuring fair access to electricity in all regions during the energy transition process and the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) agreement is crucial. Moreover, people’s concern extends to the quality of electricity supply, as it frequently gets disrupted even for those with access to it.

“We appreciate the government’s program in fulfilling electrification, but the priority of terminating coal-fired power plants may overshadow the need to ensure equitable access to electrification for all. For this reason, don’t let anyone who has not received this electrification injustice fall into the abyss again. However, I don’t see any priority from JETP regarding access to electricity. In carrying out decentralization, regional government readiness is also needed to monitor in helping more prepared institutions and HR readiness to troubleshoot technical matters,” said Sandra.