State power company PLN may have to revise its business plan to accommodate demand for electricity in Indonesia's new capital. (Antara Photo/Abriawan Abhe)

Power Up: Indonesia's New Capital Needs New Electricity Grid


OCTOBER 28, 2019

Jakarta. Indonesia's new capital in East Kalimantan will need additional 1,555 megawatts of electricity to ensure an uninterrupted power supply, according to the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry.

The extra capacity needed is around what the entire island of Kalimantan consumes in electricity today, but the government is adamant it does not want a repeat of Jakarta's embarrassing blackout two months ago. 

Rida Mulyana, the director general of electricity at the ministry, said electricity connections in the new capital ideally should have zero downtime and a minimum of three layers of power supply.

The system should employ a circular smart grid with plenty of storage connected to high, medium and low voltage networks using underground cables.


Ideally, the power should come from renewable sources and there should be plenty of recharging stations for electric vehicles, according to Rida. 

"We need around 1,196 extra megawatts in the new capital, which means we need a new power plant with a capacity of at least 1,555 megawatts," Rida said over the weekend. 

The new power plant's inflated capacity accounts for a reserve margin of 30 percent to cover instances when electricity demand jumps above the typical peak load.

The so far unnamed new capital, located in the districts of North Penajem Paser and Kutai Kertanegara in East Kalimantan, will not be able to rely only on Kalimantan's current power grid, Rida said. 

The government expects to start construction on the $33-billion new capital next year and finish it in 2024. 

But Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), the state-owned utility company, only has a plan to add 691 more megawatts to the country's current power grid, according to its 2019-2028 Electricity Supply Business Plan which was passed by the government in February before the decision to move the capital was taken.

Rida suggested the plan might soon be amended. "We need to speed up development of electricity infrastructure — power generation, transmission, distribution — to make sure the new capital has a reliable electricity network," he said.

East Kalimantan currently receives its electricity from the Kalimantan Interconnection System, a grid combining power from powerplants in three provinces, East, South and Central Kalimantan. The system has a total capacity of 1,569 megawatts with a typical peak load of 1,095 megawatts. 

As of July, virtually all residents of East Kalimantan, including those in North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara, have access to electricity, with PLN's power coverage in the region nearing 99.9 percent.