Decentralising Indonesia’s power

Our latest blog comes from one of our students taking our MSc in Sustainable Energy Futures. As part of their studies the students must undertake a piece of independent, multi-disciplinary research. Here Nursita Setiawati Pramono talks about her work on decentralised power and Indonesia.

My name is Nursita S Pramono from the Banten province in Indonesia. I joined the MSc in Sustainable Energy Futures after my undergraduate studies in Electrical Power Engineering at Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia. For my thesis, I am conducting research on A Business Model of Decentralised Power Generation Using Multi-Criteria Decision-Support with Case Study in Rural Indonesia.

Jakarta Skyline by Yohanes Budiyanto

Indonesia is a country with the 4th largest population in the world. However there is still more than 25 million people in rural areas of the country that have limited access of electricity and then with relatively high prices. To increase the availability of electricity across the country the Indonesian government has announced targets to add at least 35GW of capacity to electricity generation system by 2019.

To achieve this target there needs to be collaboration between the government, the national electricity company and independent power producers to build power generation plants, at both the small and large scale. The government also tries to encourage private companies to invest in the power generation business. From the private companies’ side, they need to be confident that their business is prudent, suitable, and, most importantly, profitable.

Electricity Availability in Indonesia

Research at Imperial College London, has already looked at decentralised power generation, especially for rural areas in developing country. One of the innovations is the Sustainable Rural Energy Decision Support System (SUREDSS [PDF]), which was developed by my supervisor, Dr Judith Cherni, and her team. This tool can provide a quantitative appraisal of sustainable energy deployment in a region against five criteria, physical; financial; natural environment; social and human assets. SUREDDS can then be used to determine which options of sustainable power generation fits the need and citizens in a region. It is also useful to develop a business model to plan and build decentralised power generation plants.

Example of Impact Assessment Result for Various Technology of Power Generation using SUREDDS (Cherni, Judith A., 2006. Energy supply for sustainable rural livelihoods. A multi-criteria decision-support system, Energy Policy 35 (2007) 1493–1504.)
Example of Impact Assessment Result for Various Technology of Power Generation using SUREDDS
(Cherni, Judith A., 2006. Energy supply for sustainable rural livelihoods. A multi-criteria decision-support system, Energy Policy 35 (2007) 1493–1504.)

In my research I will use SUREDSS as the main assessment tool for a feasibility study on the availability of renewable energy resources in selected regions. This will allow me to evaluate a wide range of criteria both quantitatively and qualitatively to analyse and create a strategy about which technology and resource exploration fits local electricity needs.

A village in rural Sulawesi, Indonesi

After defining a strategy I will look at creating an appropriate business model. This business model will need to support value proposition, a financial, and commercial plan, along with a convenient scheme to make the the business sustainable. I will then apply these in a real-world scenario with a case study in rural Indonesia. The case study will use a village surrounded by a conservation forest area in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

For the future, I really hope this research can be developed to be applied not only in my country, but also in other regions of countries with limited availability of electricity.

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