The government has revived a plan to build a high-voltage undersea power transmission cable between Java and Sumatra, slated to begin development in 2021, to distribute excess power between the two islands. (Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan)

Java-Sumatra Undersea Power Transmission Project Revived for 2021


APRIL 10, 2017

Jakarta. The government has revived a plan to install a high-voltage undersea power transmission cable between Java and Sumatra — slated to begin development in 2021 — to distribute excess power between the two islands.

A version of the project first emerged in 2013, when government planners saw a need to distribute excess power from Sumatra to Java to ensure adequate electricity in both islands.


Since then, dozens of power plants have been developed in Java, while similar projects in neighboring Sumatra have stalled, leading to power shortages there.

State utility firm Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), the project's developer, said in November last year that it considered canceling the enterprise altogether due to the shifting balance of energy supplies, according to a report by economic daily Kontan.

However, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan recently said the underwater cable project will be repurposed to transmit power from Java to Sumatra.

"It has to be completed by 2024, so we need to start developing in 2021," Jonan said on Monday (10/04).

"More power plants are being constructed in Java at the moment, so the island could soon have an excess power supply of 5,000 megawatts," he said.

The 2013 project, known as the 500 kilovolt Sumatra-Java High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC), had already secured a 30-year $2.13 billion loan from the Japan International Corporation Agency to install the undersea cable.

The government has not said if the money will also be repurposed to finance the 2021 undersea transmission cable.