Black & Veatch sees huge potential of renewable energy-based microgrids in Indonesia

JAKARTA (RambuEnergy.com) – Black & Veatch, a global EPC contractor and a consultant engineer, said it sees huge potential for Indonesia to develop microgrid and hybrid power generation solutions incorporating renewable energy in Indonesia.

“The potential for development is significant because, as compared to diesel generation which is often used in many remote locations, microgrids and hybrid power generation can reduce costs,” the company said in a statement.

However, facility owners will need to understand the uncertainty surrounding the pace of adoption of renewable energy in Indonesia. How many, how quickly, and on what scale will renewable energy projects be developed and financed? Will utility-scale solar and wind projects gather momentum and overcome the perception that only small amounts of intermittent renewable energy can be added into the mix?

The company said it is eager to help the country to realize smart city goals as well as help stabilize the electricity supply for customers, includes bringing the electricity to rural locations and increase sustainability.

Limits on foreign investment will continue to challenge the industry and potentially delay development as will constraints around local content requirements and tariff caps.

Building a community that is more livable, sustainable and connected is filled with obstacles. However, teaming up with the right partners who are experienced in overcoming these challenges can help to mitigate business risks.

Through its projects in Indonesia in the past 50 years, Black & Veatch has seen the energy sector developing to meet the growing needs of its population and industry. Since our first project in 1969, we have delivered more than 20,000 megawatts (MW) of locally adapted and reliable power generation, transmission solutions, and dozens of other oil & gas and water infrastructure projects in Indonesia.

Serving as an EPC contractor or a consultant engineer, the company has been working on a significant proportion of Indonesia’s flagship power generation projects today as part of its 35GW program including large-scale coal-fired and gas-fired projects as well as supporting renewable and hybrid energy project development.

With the cost of battery storage as well as solar, wind, and other renewable energy technologies decreasing, we see an opportunity to build relatively small scale microgrids and hybrid energy solutions in Southeast Asia.

An example of successful renewable energy implementation in the region is Thailand’s Lopburi 55 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) facility. The central Thailand plant is one of the largest solar generation plants of its type in Asia and uses over a half million solar PV panels to supply clean energy to 300,000 people.

Two of the main components of this solar generation facility – thin-film solar PV panels (more than 500,000) and DC to AC inverters – are items that had never been used before on this scale in Asia.

Additionally, the frameless PV panels used at this site are considered first-of-a-kind in the world.

Indonesia’s Home Affairs Ministry recently announced its target to turn 100 districts into smart cities by 2019.

Jim Schnieders, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Black & Veatch’s EPC Power business reflects on the opportunities. He said building a smart city is easy to envision, while challenging to implement.

“There is a lot to consider after you’ve made the decision to enable data to make your community more livable, sustainable and connected: from questions about financing and stakeholder engagement to technology advocacy and information technology (IT) governance,” he said.

Making smart cities a reality often starts by implementing a series of smaller changes that contribute to the overall transformation. The path to the smart city is replete with obstacles: tight budgets, unaligned priorities, and a skeptical public.

However, smart city initiatives implemented by Jakarta, Bandung and Makassar are leading the way, demonstrating how leadership, vision, collaboration and the engagement of a local champion can help to overcome doubts.

The Jakarta Smart City Project is making the capital a popular hub for technology-based startups and companies, such as Trafi for transport apps and Qlue for communication with citizens.

In Bandung’s Command centre, programs such as E-budgeting provide a transparent view of administration spending.

Makassar is positioning itself to be Indonesia’s data centre for the eastern region, with smart city initiatives including its Smart CCTV technology.

Underlying smart city successes is the need for energy innovation. Globally, utilities are modernizing their grids, empowering customers and integrating new market participants, business models and technologies. This presents opportunities for utilities to facilitate connected cities by leveraging their grid technologies.

Another primary attribute of the smart city is enhancing the environment. Combining energy innovation and a sustainable environment has the potential to create an energy landscape which differs from the prevailing norm of large-scale, centralized coal-fired power stations.

Renewable energy will play a larger part in meeting the growing demand for electricity. We are likely to see a much greater use of solar energy. This will be achieved through a combination of solar farms and
microgrids.

In smart cities, sites which generate electricity from renewable sources will be small in scale, relative to conventional coal power stations, but diffuse and more numerous. To provide a reliable electricity supply, capable of meeting the fluctuating demands of a modern city, this diffuse generation model will need to be managed and distributed by local microgrids.  (*)

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2 comments

  1. A good article than can help country planners and the people. I am a US based freelance Consultant on oil & gas projects and am interested in contributing a weekly round up of oil & gas industry published news, with focus on oil price trends and projects in Refining, LNG and Alternate Energy (wind, solar). My profile can be seen on Linked-in where I regularly post news and comments on shared news from others. I have lived and worked on projects, as an expat, in Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore and try to keep myself abreast on oil & gas news in the Asia- Pacific area in general. Regards

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