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State power firm sets eyes on renewable energy

Published at: May 9, 2010
source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/05/10 ...
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Renewable energy has become an emerging alternative with state electricity company the PLN West Java distribution office currently exploring the possibility to buy power from nine renewable energy power plants.

Renewable energy has become an emerging alternative with state electricity company the PLN West Java distribution office currently exploring the possibility to buy power from nine renewable energy power plants.

West Java and Banten PLN distribution office spokesman Adang Jarkasih said the company was still coordinating with related offices to realize the plan.

He said that currently, only five micro hydro power stations in West Java were operating, adding that eight other power plants had signed operating contracts with West Java PLN but are not operational yet.

"Those plants are outside 33 other stations, which are currently in the MoU phase," he said.

The potential for electricity generated by renewable energy, especially micro hydro energy, is said to be high.

Directorate General of Information and Public Diplomacy's secretary Elias Ginting said Indonesia was currently helping countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East by sharing knowledge on the development of micro hydro technology.

"This is part of public diplomacy, helping countries around us," said Ginting at a recent two-day international training workshop on micro hydro energy.

Thirteen participants from nine countries - Afghanistan, Bhutan, Fiji, Mongolia, Panama, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Vanuatu and Vietnam - took part in the workshop.

Ginting said the workshop was part of Indonesia's commitment to improve the capacity of communities in Asia, Africa and the Middle East in the field of micro hydro energy technology.

"Indonesia is, by chance, superior in micro hydro technology, and other countries also need the technology," he said, adding that the technology developed in Indonesia was on par with Japan.

The Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation director at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, Ratna Arianti, said micro hydro energy potential in Indonesia was currently at around 500 megawatts.

"However, the potential has yet to be utilized to produce power," she said.

Ratna said there were currently around 200 micro hydro power stations across the country and only 15 percent could be utilized.

"A factor impeding the optimization of micro hydro energy is its relatively high cost," she said.

She said that building a micro hydro energy facility was more costly than building a coal-fired power station.

Ratna said each kilowatt at a coal-fired power station cost around US$1,000, while each kilowatt of micro hydro power station cost more. She did not elaborate on details.

"The government has limited funds to build micro hydro power stations, so it has handed over construction to provincial administrations and the private sector."

As an alternative solution, she said the investment could ask for support from the banking sector, which has shown interest in providing loans for the project.

"As long as the micro hydro power plant is within PLN's network, the electricity it produced can be sold to PLN. This will hopefully interest both banks and the private sector to fund the micro hydro power plant."

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