Jakarta – BRIN Public Relations. Based on data from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Indonesia, the potential of the national Geothermal Power Plant (PLTPs) reaches 23.9 giga watt (GW). This accounts for 40 percent of the world’s potential of geothermal power plants. However, until now, Indonesia has utilized only 2,276 MW or about 9.5 percent of the potential, while most of the PLTP components are still imported.

“Indonesia ranks second in the installed capacity of geothermal power plants in the world after the United States. With such great potential, geothermal has a high chance to generate the domestic industry,” said Cahyadi, Acting Head of the Energy Conversion Technology Center – the Technology Assessment and Application Research Organization (B2TKE – OR PPT) of the National Research and Innovation Agency of the Republic of Indonesia (BRIN RI), in an online interview, Friday (14/01).

BRIN B2TKE has developed PLTP technology on a demo plant scale, located in Kamojang – West Java, and Lahendong – North Sulawesi.

“The Kamojang and Lahendong PLTPs are on a demo plant scale, so they are for research,” said Cahyadi.

These two PLTPs, continued Cahyadi, have been developed since 2010. Both have different types of technology. The condensing-type PLTP in Kamojang is made at a capacity of 3 MW. While the binary cycle-type PLTP in Lahendong with a capacity of 500 kW, is prepared for geothermal wells with low enthalpy steam or in the form of brine water.

Furthermore, Cahyadi added, the main components of PLTP are turbines and generators. Therefore, for the condensing PLTP in Kamojang, BRIN B2TKE has collaborated with PT. Pindad and PT. Nusantara Turbin Propulsi to build a 3 MW PLTP turbine generator with the production capability of up to 5-10 MW.

In addition, the mechanical equipment at PLTP such as demisters, condensers, and others can be supported by state-owned strategic industries such as PT. Boma Bhishma Indra, PT. Barata Indonesia, and other national industries. The geothermal is taken from wells owned by PT. Pertamina Geothermal Energy.

“The Domestic Component Level (TKDN) at PLTP Kamojang reaches 63 percent because the turbines, generators and other components come from domestic industries,” he explained.

Meanwhile, for the Lahendong PLTP, BRIN B2TKE cooperates with the German government through the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences, especially for the manufacturing of turbines and generators. Currently, the TKDN of the Lahendong PLTP has just reached 30 percent.

“As the technology is different from the condensing type, we are still learning from Germany for this plant. The hope is that under the 2020-2024 Rumah Program (Program Home), we can reverse engineer, we master the technology, of course with design differentiation. So the industry can build PLTP with domestic designs,” he said.

Reverse engineering of binary cycle PLTP is also carried out in collaboration with several universities, namely Manado State Polytechnic, Bandung State Polytechnic, Bandung Manufacturing Polytechnic, Sam Ratulangi University, and University of Indonesia.

He said, the two PLTPs are actually ready for the commercialization stage. Technically, both have passed various stages of testing such as component testing, system testing, and reliability testing under the auspices of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with PT. PLN Pusertif.

The electricity has also been successfully supplied to the transmission owned by PT. PLN. The Kamojang PLTP generates 1,722 MWh of electricity, while the Lahendong PLTP generates 3,200 MWh of electricity.

“For reliability test, we collaborate with PT. Cogindo Daya Bersama, one of PT. PLN’s business units that engages in the operation and maintenance of power plants, and operates the 3 MW Kamojang PLTP. It is like we make the car, but other party does the test drive. Their response is good, according to them our design PLTP is easy to operate,” he said.

However, to get to the commercialization stage, the Electricity Law has yet to accommodate the need of PLTP for research, which needs the requirements similar to that for commercial PLTP, such as Operation Worthiness Certificate (SLO), Electricity Supply Business License (IUPTL), Electricity Purchase Agreement. (PJBL), and so on.

“The Regulation of the Minister of Finance also does not regulate the mechanism if the PLTP demo plant which is a State Property can be donated to State-owned Enterprise, so that it can be utilized and maintained,” he said.

According to him, such non accommodating regulations pose obstacle to be able to continue to the commercialization stage.

He hopes that the government can assign PLTP industry such as state-owned enterprise to use domestic small-scale PLTP technology in suitable geothermal locations such as in central and eastern Indonesia.

“BRIN certainly cannot reach the commercialization stage. Our suggestion is that there is an assignment from the government for an industry that is ready to serve as coordinator for the continuation of this research PLTP to the commercial stage by replicating this PLTP technology, and supportive regulations,” he hoped.

“Because of the current mechanism, the tender requirements for PLTP products must be having the experience to produce several units and ownership of operational PLTP. It is impossible for the domestic PLTP industry to fulfill these requirements, because they have only built a research-scale 3 MW Kamojang PLTP,” added Cahyadi.

This PLTP assignment, for example for 10-20 units, according to Cahyadi, is important to revive the domestic PLTP economy and ecosystem, and the domestic PLTP industry will have an adequate portfolio to compete commercially in the future.

“With high local content (TKDN), we can automatically generate the economy in the PLTP ecosystem in Indonesia. High TKDN also boosts industrial independence while reducing imports in the energy sector, which are still high,” he said.

Currently, said Cahyadi, BRIN has made a modular PLTP design, as a lesson learned from the two previous PLTPs. Modular PLTP is designed under a more compact site concept, fast mobilization and installation, and flexibility to be placed on any wellhead.

He hopes that in 2025, Modular condensing and binary cycle geothermal power plants can reach the commercialization stage, and increase the TKDN of the binary cycle type.

In simple terms, PLTP is a power plant generated from the rotation of a turbine generator which is driven by geothermal energy in the form of steam or brine water. Geothermal steam is obtained from geothermal wells which are explored to a certain depth and the steam is channeled to the PLTP location to drive a turbine generator. (tnt, sj).