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Jakarta Post

Asahan III power plant resumes development, expected to operate by 2023

  • Norman Harsono

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, March 11, 2020   /   05:04 pm
Asahan III power plant resumes development, expected to operate by 2023 Construction workers dig an 8-kilometer headrace tunnel that will channel water from the Asahan River to the turbines of the Asahan III hydropower plant in North Sumatra. (PLN/PLN)

Construction on the 174-megawatt Asahan III hydropower plant in North Sumatra has resumed after authorities settled administration problems that have extended the facility’s development period by nine years.

State-owned electricity firm PLN, set to be the offtaker of the electricity produced by the plant, said in a statement on Tuesday that work on the power plant had reached 5.11 percent completion. Developers are digging an 8-kilometer tunnel to channel water to the plant’s turbines.

Development first kicked off in 2011, when developers began installing access roads. The facility was initially expected to be completed by 2014, but the completion date was pushed to 2023 due to permit-related setbacks and one corruption case. 

PLN spokesperson Dwi Suryo Abdullah said in the statement that Asahan III’s operation “could potentially increase the number of PLN’s household customers by 241,000”. 

Construction workers dig an 8-kilometer headrace tunnel that will channel water from the Asahan River to the turbines of the Asahan III hydropower plant in North Sumatra.Construction workers dig an 8-kilometer headrace tunnel that will channel water from the Asahan River to the turbines of the Asahan III hydropower plant in North Sumatra. (PLN/PLN)

He added that the plant would increase the share of renewable energy in northern Sumatra’s power grid from 33.7 percent to 35.6 percent by 2023, well above the nationwide target of 23 percent by 2025. 

The hydropower plant project, valued at around Rp 2.2 trillion (US$152.59 million), straddles Asahan and Toba Samosir regencies. It is among the many ongoing renewable energy projects in Indonesia facing regulatory deadlock.

Asahan III’s developers had difficulties securing both a principle permit from the North Sumatra administration and a business license from the central government.

Problems piled in 2015, when then-Toba Samosir regent Kasmin Simanjuntak was found guilty in a corruption case pertaining to a land purchase deal worth Rp 4.4 billion for Asahan III.

The plant is being developed by a joint venture between Japanese engineering firm Shimizu Corp and Indonesian state-owned construction firm PT Adhi Karya.