IESR: Renewable Energy Integration in Electricity Plan Can Reach 129 GW by 2030

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.

ISEO 2023 Launch: Encourage The Use of Solar Energy in Indonesia

Jakarta, October 27, 2022 – The use of solar energy in Indonesia needs to be accelerated. Clear rules, support for the solar PV component production industry, and capacity building in response to human resources needs in the solar energy sector also need to be prepared.

According to data from Indonesia Solar Energy Outlook (ISEO) 2023, the installed capacity of Solar PV has increased from 43.9 MWp in 2021 to 63.5 MWp in September 2022. This number is relatively small compared to other ASEAN countries, especially Vietnam, which already belongs to the Gigawatt order.

Senda Hurmuzan Kanam, Chair of Electrical Survey and Testing Center, MEMR, measures that the installed capacity of PLTS in Indonesia is still in its early stages, around 200 MW-400 MW. He stated that Indonesia needs a closer look at Vietnam, which can install about 10 – 20 GW of solar panels annually.

“Compared to Vietnam, Indonesia is far behind. We need to look for demand opportunities for renewable energy, especially solar PV. Currently, we have an incentive program for rooftop solar systems under a Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF) grant to attract more electricity consumers to use rooftop PV mini-grid,” Senda said at the Advancing G20 Solar Leadership event and the launch of the ISEO 2023 report organized by the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, and in collaboration with the International Solar Alliance, and the Indonesian Solar Energy Association.

Similarly, a member of the National Energy Council (DEN), Herman Darnel Ibrahim, mentioned that solar energy development in Indonesia is still running slowly and relatively stagnant. He argues that Indonesia needed a more transparent plan to achieve the target of 23% of the renewable energy mix by 2025 by utilizing solar power.

“At least the Electricity Supply Business Plan (RUPTL) needs to show the solar energy program, all renewable energy clearly, and mention its potential locations. Currently, the existing RUPTL only discusses all renewable energy nationally and does not mention its possible areas in detail. Moreover, the government can calculate the new economy by location and network costs. So it’s better to build a resource inventory first,” Herman stated.

Although there are several challenges to accelerating solar energy, Andhika Prastawa, Chairman of the Indonesian Solar Energy Association (AESI), said solar panel production continues to grow under certain conditions. For example, Indonesia provides a clear incentive for consumers to use domestic solar panels rather than abroad. In addition, Andhika stated that there are two ecosystems to accelerate solar energy: the utilization ecosystem and the industrial ecosystem. 

“Ecosystem utilization, namely solar power, can be used in large or isolated systems. So we can extend access to electricity to all rural communities in the country. Then, the growth of this industrial ecosystem is closely related to its utilization ecosystem. To grow the industrial ecosystem, a market that can absorb solar modules is needed,” Andhika explained.

Meanwhile, Anthony Utomo, Deputy Chairperson of the Indonesian Solar Energy Association (AESI), explained that solar PV is necessary because of the decarbonization movement and the net zero emissions (NZE) approach. However, there are several challenges to intensifying solar energy.

“There are two challenges facing Indonesia. The user’s (customers) readiness to use solar PV, so we need consistent and massive education. It aligns with the National Energy Master Plan (RUEN) 2017, which became a shared consensus. It mandates a reduction in energy intensity, containing 30% of government buildings being encouraged to use solar PV, 25% luxury homes, and industrial downstream. Second, the competencies of solar PVinstallation personnel to develop the electrical system installation of the solar power plant. There is a need to provide solar preneurs or green MSMEs so that they can welcome the phenomenon of using rooftop solar PV in all regions, ” Anthony said.

The Institute for Essential Services Reform has consistently noted the progress and challenges of developing solar energy in the energy transition framework in the Indonesia Energy Transition Outlook (IETO). However, in 2023, IESR launched a progress report on solar power in Indonesia separately in the Indonesia Solar Energy Outlook (ISEO) 2023.

IESR: Renewable Energy Portion in “Green” RUPTL Could Be Bigger

Jakarta, 14 October 2021Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) appreciates the government’s commitment to making an energy transition towards decarbonization in 2060 or earlier by issuing the PLN 2021-2030 Electricity Supply Business Plan  (RUPTL), which has a larger portion of renewable energy generation. The government claims that this RUPTL is the greenest because it contains a portion of new and renewable energy generation capacity (EBT) of 51.6% or 20.923 MW in 2030. However, the 2021-2030 RUPTL still indicates the dependence of fossil energy on the energy system in Indonesia.

Pamela Simamora, IESR Research Coordinator who is also the main author of the Deep decarbonization of Indonesia’s energy system study, believes that the 2021-2030 RUPTL still shows a small renewable energy electricity mix, which is only 24.8% in 2030. This means that from 2025 to 2030, the increase in the renewable energy mix was only 1.8%. This number is much lower than the target mix increase from 2021 to 2025 which is 8% (from 15% today to 23% in 2025).

“The renewable energy mix should be higher in 2030 considering that the price of renewable energy in that year is predicted to be more competitive than fossil energy,” she says.

Indonesia itself has declared to achieve decarbonization by 2060 or earlier. IESR Executive Director, Fabby Tumiwa said that the target will be realized if, by 2030, around 70% of power generation capacity or around 80-85 GW comes from renewable energy so that energy sector emissions can reach their peak in 2030.

“To achieve this mix, it is necessary to reduce fossil energy generating capacity to open up more space for renewable energy plants to be included in the electricity system. The reduction in thermal generating capacity must be followed by the development of renewable energy. With this need, renewable energy in 2022-2025 should ideally reach 25-30 GW and accelerate to 45-50 GW from 2025 to 2030, in line with the plan for early retirement of PLTU, “he explains.

Responding to the government’s plan in the 2030 RUPTL to retire 1.1 GW of subcritical steam power plants in Muara Karang, Tanjung Priok, Tambak Lorok, and Gresik by 2030, the Transformation Energy Program Manager, Deon Arinaldo assessed that this step is still following the business as a usual plan because the PLTU is entering retirement age.

Moreover, the government’s intention to maintain fossil fuels by co-firing biomass at PLTU will set a greater risk of stranded assets and the environment when compared to focusing on developing renewable energy such as solar energy. PLN has even identified challenges such as the sustainability of the required biomass supply of 8-14 million tons per year, the impact on the efficiency of the power plant, and the increase in the basic cost of electricity supply.

On the other hand, RUPTL 2030 has also planned the development of electricity interconnection within islands and between islands to improve electricity reliability and distribute new renewable energy whose sources are far from load centers. The government targets that by 2024 the interconnection within the islands of Kalimantan and Sulawesi has been accomplished in the super grid system to overcome the oversupply in a large system. The government is also reviewing the development of the interconnection network between Sumatra-Java and Bali-Lombok. Referring to the study of Deep decarbonization of Indonesia’s energy system, this within-island, and inter-island interconnection network plan is a good thing and should be monitored for its development.

Furthermore, the development of varied renewable energy (VRE), especially solar energy, is focused on three strategies: solar PV for rural electricity, de-dieselization, and network connection (both PLN and IPP). However, de-dieselization by converting diesel power plants to solar PV equipped with a battery with a total capacity of 1.2 GWp is only intended for isolated systems that are not possible to be connected to PLN transmission.

“If it is intended to encourage a more aggressive penetration of renewable energy, the use of local renewable energy, either solar or other renewable energy sources, should be the main strategy for providing energy access, not a substitute, and must concentrate on to aspects of sustainability and reliability,” said Marlistya Citraningrum, Manager Sustainable Energy Access Program, IESR

Besides, the target of 4.7 GW of PV mini-grid by 2030 listed in the latest RUPTL does not reflect the much larger potential and pipeline project of PV mini-grid. The Scaling Up Solar in Indonesia report even shows that it requires at least 18 GW until 2025 to realize the target of 23% of the renewable energy mix. Meanwhile, according to the IESR Deep decarbonization of Indonesia’s energy system study to pursue emission-free Indonesia in 2050, 107 GW of solar PV is needed in 2030 with a storage system.