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Smart Grid Systems to power Indonesia

In efforts to enhance the reliability of the electric power system in the country, the Indonesian government believes that a Smart Grid is one of the solutions.  Such a grid, it is felt, will increase the efficiency of services to the community as well as improve transmission flexibility to receive more Variable Renewable Energy (VRE). A Smart Grid in the National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJPM), has been proposed in the development of the Java-Bali system. The plans sets targets for five new systems to be installed in Java-Bali region every year from 2020 to 2024. With this goal, over the next five years, twenty-five new Smart Grid systems will be built and become operational.

At a virtual engagement, “Smart Grid as a Power System Reliability” Webinar, representing the Director-General of Electricity Rida Mulyana, Secretary of the Directorate General of Electricity Munir Ahmad said that Smart Grid technology is one of the strategies being pursued by the government to provide reliable electricity nationwide so that all Indonesians get electricity in sufficient quantities, of good quality and at affordable prices.

Smart Grid is an electric power grid system equipped with advanced information and communication technology that can enable an efficient electric power management system, provide high reliability of electricity supply, utilise renewable energy sources and allow customer participation in the supply of electricity. Munir confirmed that the use of Smart Grid technology would not be limited to urban and large-scale electricity consumers. Smart Grid technology can also be utilised on small-scale Smart Micro Grids in rural and remote areas with difficult access to the transmission network

The Smart Grid concept is in keeping with the Industry 4.0 paradigm where consumers, in this case,  can also become producers – they can generate, store and sell electricity to electricity providers or fellow consumers. In this digital age, the Coordinator of Electricity Cooperation, Senda H. Kanam, said that consumers are becoming smarter in their use of electricity and are being supported by smart equipment.

Senda elaborated that Smart Grid is a concept of smart electricity grids to meet the needs of electrical energy by utilising information technology and two-way communication technology between electricity producers and consumers with the aim of being efficient, reliable, better utilisation of new renewable energy (EBT) and reducing CO2 emissions.

The addition of a smart grid system will help reduce dependence on electricity from fossil-based power plants, Senda agreed. None the less, challenges remain in deploying this vision. As the systems require advanced technology with high standards there are financial and technical hurdles. Primarily the challenge for the implementation of Smart Grid in Indonesia is the large investment costs of the advanced technology and infrastructure. Apart from the logistics, the vision will need commitment across the board. Further, there must be regulations for standardisation and technology that require different applications.

In the early stages, Smart Grid implementation focuses on reliability, efficiency, customer experience and grid productivity. Meanwhile, the next stage will focus on resilience, customer engagement, sustainability and self-management, acknowledged Executive Vice President of PT PLN Corporate Planning Hot Martua Baraka.

There have been several Smart Grid pilot projects that PLN had conducted. Currently, several Smart grid projects are running according to the 2020-2024 RPJPM and have been designated as one of the National Strategic Projects (PSN) according to PERPRES No. 18 of 2020. The Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources will apply smart grids technology to achieve the national energy mix target of 23% by 2025. The application of that technology has been mandated in the Presidential Regulation concerning the National Medium-Term Development Plan for 2020-2024.

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