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Pertamina Geothermal Energy starts commissioning of 55 MW Lumut Balai geothermal plant

Lumut Balai geothermal plant, Indonesia (source: WIKA)
Alexander Richter 14 Aug 2019

Pertamina Geothermal Energy has started commissioning of the 55 MW Lumut Balai Unit 1 geothermal power plant, with estimated start of commercial operation on September 9, 2019.

After two withdrawals from the initial COD targets, PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy (PGE) now ensures that the Lumut Balai Unit-1 Geothermal Power Plant (PLTP) could operate commercially (Commercial Operation Date / COD) in early September 2019.

PGE Managing Director Ali Mundakir said that, the 55 MW geothermal power plant had entered the commissioning stage which included synchronization to the electricity network of PT PLN (Persero) on 9 August 2019.

After the commissioning process is completed, Ali targets PLTP Lumut Balai to be COD on 3 September 2019. “Synchronization to the PLN network has been achieved on our August 9th. We are targeting COD on September 3, but we will try it if possible before September,” Ali said when met at the Jakarta Convention Center on Tuesday (8/13).

As for the COD setback, Ali was reluctant to say much. Technically, Ali said, his party needs to ensure that the electricity produced by Lumut Balai PLTP can be synchronized with the PLN electricity network.

Beyond that, Ali did not dismiss that there are social problems that must be solved first. “The social conditions of the community cannot be predicted,” he said.

For information, the Lumut Balai PLTP was previously targeted to be COD in December 2018. However, the target could not be reached and it was postponed to July 2019. Unfortunately, the charge also missed again.

Based on official information from the Directorate General of New Energy, Renewable and Energy Conservation (EBTKE) of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, there are a number of obstacles that have caused the delay of commercial operation of the plant.

These constraints include the limited area for power plant locations considering that Lumut Balai WKP is generally a high and steep topography so that it requires mitigation of potential landslides that are quite complex, backfeeding that cannot be done immediately, and unfinished readiness of the transmission network infrastructure.

For the next stage, continued Ali, PGE will soon complete PLTP Lumut Balai Unit-2, which also has a capacity of 55 MW in 2020. Ali said, completion between Unit 1 and Unit 2 usually takes about six months.

Meanwhile, for this year, Ali revealed that PGE allocated an investment fund of US $111 million. The funds will be absorbed for the completion of Lumut Balai PLTP and other operational needs, such as well drilling.

Ali said, PGE’s investment budget fluctuates every year. This year’s budget, said Ali, has shrunk compared to PGE’s investment funds last year which reached US $ 250 million. “This is because last year there was the construction of Lumut Balai. This year is almost complete, so (investment) is reduced,” he said.

Ali said that PGE funding came from two sources, namely PT Pertamina (Persero) and loans (soft loans) from financial institutions. On average, continued Ali, 60% of PGE funding came from PT Pertamina (Persero). As for the needs of the Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) project, 40% of the project value is funded through soft loans.

As for the long-term plan, Ali said that PT Pertamina (Persero) had budgeted funds of US $ 2.68 billion for the investment needs of PGE geothermal development. “That is to increase the install capacity so that it can reach 1,112 MW in 2026,” he said.

Source: Kontan