Indonesia's Energy Transition Toward Carbon Neutrality


Well-Known Member
This was sparked by recent discussion on Future Energy Pathways starting on post #37 about nuclear energy in Indonesia. I've been saying for years that Indonesia needs nuclear energy because there isn't enough renewable energy resources in Indonesia to provide for the 300-320 million people we're expected to have by 2050.

This year Indonesia will chair the G20 conference and plans to present their scenario for reaching carbon neutrality by 2060 during the conference. A few days ago the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources revealed some numbers for their 2060 net zero emission scenario.
Priaadi explained that the GSEN targets a renewable energy mix of 100 percent by 2060, with a capacity of 587 gigawatts, including Solar Power Plant (PLTS), with 361 gigawatts; Hydroelectric Power Plant (PLTA), 83 gigawatts; Wind Power Plant (PLTB), 39 gigawatts; Nuclear Power Plant (PLTN), 35 gigawatts; Bio-energy Power Plant (PLTBio), 37 gigawatts; Geothermal Power Plant (PLTP), 18 gigawatts; and Ocean Power Plant (PLTL), 13.4 gigawatts.
Note that they put Nuclear Power as renewable. This is a common mistake here in Indonesia. Technically they should have said clean energy rather than renewable, but the distinction is often lost in Indonesia.

I had thought about putting this in the Future Energy Pathways thread but decided to just start a new thread because it's a country-specific scenario rather than a new technology or new application of technology. None of the technology mentioned there is new.

In my opinion, those numbers are unrealistic. It felt like they started from a projected demand and then tried to figure out a combination of things that will fit into that hole rather than starting with a realistic map of available resources. In the Future Energy Pathways thread I mentioned that Indonesia needs about 240 GW capacity by 2050, so the 587 GW mentioned above might look big, but once we factor in the capacity factor of Variable Renewable Energy, it's about the same.

Geothermal and wind power.... very optimistic, but okay, I think it's technically possible if we assume some advances in technology in the intervening years making the currently not-feasible feasible. Same thing with Oceanic power. I am not sure if this is ocean thermal or ocean current. Probably a combination of both.

Bio-energy... that's going to be some euphemism for palm oil and derivatives.

The hydroelectric number is impossible to achieve though. Our hydropower potential is supposed to be 75 GW or so. And with hydro, there's no such thing as a discovery of a new major river making the potential higher. Increased rain may increase the river flow, but the problem with climate change is that we can't predict locally what it will do. It could be flooding one year and drought the next. I have no idea how we can get the extra gigawatts. Heck, if we can get to 50 GW hydroelectric it would've been a major accomplishment already.

And solar power. Holy. 361 GW of solar power capacity? Where are we going to put them? Okay, we can put them on houses and buildings. That will get us a few GW at most though. We can put them as floating solar power on dams (this is more expensive and the presence of water makes the electronics die faster, but it sidesteps the land cost and it slows down the water loss from evaporation, so it may be economical overall) and get maybe a few dozen GW, I guess, but where will we get the space for 300 GW of solar power? We do not have a convenient desert to do this. Our empty lands are forests, and if we start clearing out forests to install solar panels we're doing it wrong. Maybe put them off-shore, but one good storm and we'll have broken solar panels littering the sea. There are several "drier" places where marginal lands could be used for solar power, e.g., the salt farms of Madura might make more money if turned into solar farms, but we don't have many of those.

The nuclear power target of 35 GW capacity looks reasonable, but in the same article the government has said that they envision the first commercial operation date of a nuclear power plant to be 2049. Which means that we then have 10 years to build 35 GW of nuclear power. The hell. We ought to be starting now, and get the first nuclear power plant operational in 2030 or 2035 at the latest, then maybe we can get 35 GW of nuclear by 2060. If the first nuclear power plant is operational on 2049, at most we can get 15 GW or so done by 2060. (The assumption is that you build one every year instead of waiting until one is done before starting the next. If we complete say, a 1200 MW nuclear power plant every year from 2049 onward, we get 14.4 GW by 2060.)

Yah, okay, my cynical side says that this scenario isn't intended to be realistic and achievable. It's intended to promise the moon and challenge the rich countries to put money where their mouth is and invest in those green energy in Indonesia. Because, hey, we're doing this renewable thing you want, so invest here.


The Bunker Group
solar power. Holy. 361 GW of solar power capacity? Where are we going to put them?
There's some talk that already being heard in Financial Institutions of projects for Solar Farm in East Nusa Tenggara. It's sparsely populated and considered to be driest place within Indonesian Archiepelago. There's also talk from financial regulators like OJK for Banks to shown support for financing Urban Solar Energy.

Still I agree 361GW from Solar Energy is too much. I believe it's only based on some 'green' consultants that talk of potential solar energy, based on calculation of tropical location. I suspect they put that number as no other 'green' energy potential can be put. Basically I suspect that 361GW is the amount of energy demand that actually can not be cover by current other green energy sources tech. So they just lump it on together toward Solar.


Well-Known Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
Looks like we will use rice husk pellets mixed with coal in order to reduce coal use. This article is in Indonesian but the gist is that PLN (the Indonesian State Grid Corp) will be using rice husk pellets produced by Sang Hyang Seri (also a state-owned enterprise) in a co-firing scheme in order to reduce fossil fuel use. This was already tested in two coal power plants and now they're expanding the program. The calorific value of the rice husk pellet is 3700 kcal/kg, which is equivalent to low quality coal, but we use a lot of those anyway, so we don't need to change anything.

Biomass is often problematic because while on paper they're carbon neutral, mass-use of biomass often leads to turning forest into agricultural land. However, Indonesia makes over 30 million tonnes of rice per year and thus there's a lot of rice husk (the article estimates 11 million tonnes annually). Might as well use the husk. Considering our coal consumption is over 130 million tonnes per year, I don't think rice husk pellets will be able to replace coal in a major way, but even a few million tonnes per year is a valuable reduction.


Super Moderator
And solar power. Holy. 361 GW of solar power capacity? Where are we going to put them? ... We do not have a convenient desert to do this. Our empty lands are forests, and if we start clearing out forests to install solar panels we're doing it wrong.
The bolded bit - absolutely right.

Rooftop solar is grossly underestimated in general. In theory, if every rooftop in the world was covered by solar panels, they could generate much more electricity than currently used. Of course, that's unrealistic, & the real potential is much, much less, but it's enough that it should be taken more seriously. Every factory, warehouse, etc. without rooftop solar panels is a lost opportunity. It's not a panacea, & can't replace power stations (& I agree, 361 GW does seem rather optimistic), but the fact that aircraft hangars & so on are still being built without solar panels is a terrible waste. It's space not being used for anything else, & right on top of electricity users.