Hydropower in Indonesia
The grid-connected run-of-river power plant was built on the upper bank of the Musi River near the port city of Bengkulu in Sumatra, Indonesia. By harnessing the kinetic energy of high flowing water, the Musi River Hydro power plant has a total installed capacity of 210 MW and supplies over 765,000 MWh to the Sumatra grid each year - meeting the needs of an average of 700,000 Indonesians*.
The project can address problems in rural Sumatra, such as inadequate access to electricity and the lack of quality jobs. In this way, sustainable economic development is promoted. The hydropower plant on the Musi River has created quality jobs and training opportunities for locals in a traditionally agricultural community. A portion of the project revenue is being reinvested in the community to build an orphanage, construct new roads and bridges, and build a traditional marketplace that will provide farmers with better access to their rice fields and the opportunity for additional income. A reforestation program was also established in the surrounding watershed to protect the natural landscape.
Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world and the population is growing steadily. However, the country is in conflict when it comes to energy policy. The country has large coal reserves which, with low electricity and energy prices, could lift many people out of poverty. Indonesian textile workers need competitive jobs compared to other factories in India, Bangladesh or Cambodia, so the electricity costs of the sewing machines here must not be substantially higher.
However, as part of the Paris climate protection targets, a commitment was made to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The share of renewable energies is therefore to increase to 23 percent by 2025.
The largest share of renewables is provided by hydropower, which accounted for 58.5 percent of renewable electricity generation capacity in 2020. Geothermal energy accounts for the second-largest share with 20.3 percent; the advantage here is base-load capability and good controllability. Despite global growth, solar and wind energy have not played a major role in Indonesia to date. Solar energy accounts for just 1.5 percent of renewable generation capacity, and the situation is similar for wind energy.
Small hydropower plants use the energy of free-flowing water without using a dam. This allows diesel generators to be replaced by clean electricity generation. Small turbines are placed in a free-flowing river or stream and capture the kinetic energy of the water without creating a dam. As an underwater analogue to wind turbines, their blades rotate as the water flows by, generating electricity relatively continuously. No barriers, diversions or storage are required, only limited structural support. There are no emissions.
Supported UN Sustainable Development Goals
The Musi hydropower plant project area is located in Bengkulu Province, Indonesia, about 30 kilometers northeast of Bengkulu, the capital of the province.