Outdated Power Sector Threatens Indonesia’s Industry 4.0 Aspirations

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories)–The outdated technology utilised in Indonesia’s electricity sector could dent the government’s aspiration to kickstart the fourth industrial revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, where patterns of power consumption will be significantly different than the present.

“Indonesia’s position is currently in between Electricity 2.0 and Electricity 3.0,” Director General for Electricity Andy Noorsaman Soomeng said in a seminar titled “The Role of Energy Sector in the Industry 4.0” held by TheInsiderStories.

The discovery of electrical bulb in 188p by Thomas Alva Edison is the power sector equivalent of the first industrial revolution in the power sector, then the next phase is the discovery of alternating current by George Westinghouse-Nikola Tesla in the 1890s.

The technology that allows interconnectivity between an intermittent power source and electrical grid, thus leading to the development of renewable energy plants on a large scale, can be considered as an equivalent of the third industrial revolution.

The government has ambitious goals to boost Industry 4.0 through Making Indonesia 4.0 Roadmap that was launched on April 5, 2018.

Head of Industrial Research and Development of at Ministry of Industry Ngakan Timur Antara said on Friday (20/07) implementation of Making Industry 4.0 will drive Indonesian GDP to be the tenth biggest in the world by 2030.

In addition, the government targets an increase in economic growth by 1-2 percent per year from currently in the range 5 to 7 percent in 2018-2030 through Industry 4.0. The manufactures will contribute around 21-26 percent of GDP by 2030.

Sommeng said the power sector is key in boosting Industry 4.0. He added the electricity sector also experienced a revolution.

Right now, when solar panels and electric vehicles and the digitalization of power generation are widespread, the world enters the fourth electrical revolution. Electrical 4.0 offered efficiency in power supply through the use of renewable energy.

Electrical 4.0 is also identical with the application of smart grid technology, which will integrate all activities from the power plants to the end user to improve efficiency, sustainability, energy saving, and safety. It includes the use of smart meters, smart appliances, renewable energy resources, and energy efficiency resources.

The smart grid will increase the use of small-scale renewable energy and reduce carbon emission. This system also enables the consumers to sell their electricity surplus to the power companies and other consumers.

Sommeng added the current electricity supply is sufficient to support the Industry 4.0 as Indonesia currently has 60.8 gigawatts of installed capacity with ratio electrification of 96.63 percent by April 2018. The government also targets to add power plants capacity by 56 gigawatts and 63,855 kms of electricity transmission, and 151,424 MVA substation by 2027.

In addition, Indonesia put effort to develop renewable energy by 23 per cent in 2025, even though the current contribution is at 13 per cent. The government plans to build 14,912 megawatts of renewable energy by 2027.

However, Sommeng added, Indonesia has not updated yet the grid code to accommodate intermittent power plants. Although the grid code update is the main element to boost Electricity 4.0.

Stranded Asset

Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Service Reform (IESR) Fabby Tumiwa said Indonesia’s power sector high usage of the coal as the primary source of energy meant industry 4.0 still a distant dream. has not yet complied with the Industry 4.0.

Furthermore, he warned the government and independent power producers to the possibility that coal-fired power plants will be stranded if Indonesia moves toward Industry 4.0. Hence, he suggested to the government to be careful to add the coal-fired power plants.

“It may not happen now, but in the next fifteen years, if there is no demand, the coal-fired power plant will be stranded assets. In fact, the calculation of investment coal-fired power plants done with the calculation of usage up to 40 years,” he added.

Meanwhile, the President Director of PT Cirebon Power Heru Dewanto ensured the coal-fired power plants could survive in the Industry 4.0 Moreover, the power plants developed by the company is using the ultra-supercritical technology which produces clean coal.

The company has a coal-fired power plant that uses supercritical technology namely Cirebon Power 1 with a total capacity of 600 megawatts. In addition, the company is building a coal-fired power plant that uses ultra-supercritical technology namely Cirebon power 2 with a total capacity of 1,000 megawatts.

Email: fauzulmuna@theinsiderstories.com