Indonesia’s future is CO2-neutral with hydropower

07 Jan 2021

Tractebel is contributing to the future of Indonesia’s CO2-neutral energy supply by delivering its expertise to extend the life-time of Bakaru I hydropower plant and build a second plant on the island of Sulawesi.

Electricity requirements on the island of Sulawesi, in Indonesia, are largely met by generation from private power plants. The Bakaru I hydropower plant run by the state energy agency PLN (Persero) secures the stability of the grid and supplies peak load energy. It is located on the Mamasa River and has been in operation since 1991. Rehabilitation is intended to extend the plant’s service life by another fifty years.

At the same time PLN plans to build a second new power plant. Bakaru II is anticipated to increase the installed generation capacity by 144 MW to 270 MW by 2025. This CO2-neutral energy is urgently needed for the development of the country and for the power supply of households on the island. This is because Indonesia is experiencing continuous economic growth of around five percent per year. As a result of this rapid development and sustained population growth, demand for energy is increasing rapidly.

“The Bakaru II project will contribute to reaching the ambitious targets for the economic growth of the country – moving away from primarily agricultural production to industrial production,” explains Tractebel Project Manager Jörg Grossmann, “it will largely replace electricity generation on the basis of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and diesel and will therefore significantly improve the climate footprint of power generation in Sulawesi.

Feasibility studies updated

Existing feasibility studies for both projects were updated by the hydropower experts from Tractebel between 2014 and 2016. At that time, in addition to Bakaru II, Tractebel also addressed the potential Poko dam project located upriver, for which the project development is planned parallel to Bakaru II. They updated the old studies and planned optimum cascade development. They also assessed the technical and financial viability.

Based on this knowledge, a consortium led by Tractebel is now providing the energy agency PLN and the German state-owned development bank KfW with consulting services for the implementation of this challenging scheme. The experts provide complex environmentally friendly solutions and are present with experienced international specialists on location. The team, which also includes the engineers of NEWJEC (Japan) and CONNUSA (Indonesia), started in August 2020. Their contract covers the following three stages:                                                     

I. Project development – Detailed Design, Tender and assistance in Award of Contracts
II. Project implementation – Project Construction
III. Defect liability period

Among other tasks, they are to plan and prepare the tender documents, provide support in contract negotiations and supervise the contractors during construction. Particular challenges include the fact that the construction of the new Bakaru II facility, which also involves blasting and excavation operations, is to be carried out while the neighbouring Bakaru I power plant continues operating uninterrupted. Here the specialists are using state-of-the-art BIM technology, which they will be deploying for the powerhouse planning. In addition, they are to prepare and monitor the Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP). Their tasks also include communication and interface management with the Occupational Health and Safety Experts and Social and Environmental Experts involved in the project, who have been tasked with the acquisition of additional land.

After upgrading, the Bakaru I power plant will continue supplying energy for a further fifty years.


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