Norman Harsono, Jakarta – The provinces of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) and North Sumatra have begun operating four renewable-energy power plants with a modest production capacity of 11.8 megawatts (MW) combined.
East Nusa Tenggara launched the 5MW Sambelia solar power plant in Lombok in December of last year. North Sumatra began operating the 5MW Bakal Semarak mini hydropower plant, the 1MW Kwala Sawit biogas plant and the 0.8MW Pagar Merbau biogas plant on Thursday. The plants' developers formally began operation after signing agreements with state-owned utility company PLN.
"This was a pleasant surprise at the start of the year; renewable energy production continues to rise," said Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) Ministry official Trois Dilisusendi in a statement on Friday (17/1).
PLN said in a separate statement that the utility company was committed to achieving a 23 percent renewable power-production mix by 2025.
Even though Indonesia's renewable power capacity rose 3.8 percent year-on-year to 10,157MW in 2019, the capacity falls short of the 13,900MW annual target set by the General National Energy Planning (RUEN) roadmap. This is because PLN also continues to build and operate new fossil-fuel-fired power plants, including ten coal-fired power plants last year.
Development of the Sambelia solar plant began in August 2017. Sambelia and six other solar facilities in Lombok are expected to supply 8.5 percent of the island's daytime electricity needs, thereby cutting residents' reliance on higher-cost diesel-fired plants.
"The difference is about Rp 900 (6.6 US Cents) per kilowatt hour compared to diesel-fired power plants," said PLN NTB general manager Rudi Purnomoloka.
Rudi added that the Sambelia solar plant would one of the plants to power the MotoGP race in the Mandalika Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in 2021. The seven solar plants boosted Lombok's solar energy mix from 0.1 percent in 2018 to 2.8 percent in 2019.