JAKARTA (rambuenergy.com) – State electricity company PT PLN said it expects to start the construction of hydro-power plant PLTA Asahan III in early next year after it obtained all required documents.
The project has been delayed for years due to environment-related issues related with the utilization of 30 hectares of protected forest in Batu Mamak village, Toba Samosir.
However, the Minister for Environment and Forestry has issued permit to develop the power plant. PLN’s director for West Java region Nasri Sebayang said the hurdles that have hampered the development of the hydro-power plant have been settled.
“The groundbreaking for Asahan III will be held early next year. There was just a minor problem (about land issue),” Sebayang was quoted by Bisnis Indonesia as saying.
The development of power plant is projected to address power shortages in North Sumatera. The government has requested state-owned aluminum producer PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminum (Inalum) to supply its excess power, however Inalum has rejected the government’s request as it needs additional power to support its production.
Inalum has said the current power capacity of Inalum was only sufficient for production. If Inalum were forced to supply power to North Sumatra, its would be interrupted. So far, Inalum has supplied 90 MW of power to the province. If it has to supply another 210 MW, production will be cut.
Inalum plans to build a new steam-driven power plant (PLTU) with a capacity of 600 MW in North Sumatera to support an increase in aluminum production from 260,000 to 650,000 tons annually. Inalum is equipped with hydro-power plants (PLTA) located along the Asahan River, the only river that channels water from Lake Toba to the Strait of Malacca.
PLN has also obtained US$420 million in a soft loan from the Japan Bank for International Coorporation. (*)