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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Staff Reporter, Indonesia

GE Power delivers flowing electricity to Indonesia’s diving hotspot, Gorontalo

The four units for the Gorontalo province will provide 100MW of power and will be used for grid stability and expected power demand increases from the people of Sulawesi.

Locals say the sunset in the Indonesian province of Gorontalo is nothing short of breathtaking, but for a significant number of the province’s households, night
time is a burden. This is because Gorontalo’s electrification ratio stood at 77.58%, meaning about 60 households in the locale did not have access to electricity at all, according to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources in October 2015. Across Indonesia today, around 15% of the country’s 250 million residents don’t have access to electricity - about 37 million people. This rate is the lowest in the region.

To remedy this, Indonesian president Joko Widodo launched a program designed to provide an additional 35 gigawatts (GW) of power capacity by 2019 to cope with electricity shortages, and has found an ideal technological partner in GE Power. According to Fajar Akbar, Sales Director, Gas Power Systems, GE Power Indonesia, the TM2500 generator sets that are used in Gorontalo include GE’s LM2500 gas turbine, one of the most installed and successful gas turbines in its class with more than 75 million operating hours. 

A unique electrification plan

“Dual-fuel capability allows initial operation with diesel and eventual conversion to natural gas. The mobility of the units allows future deployment at alternative locations,” he says. “Also, these can be converted to combined cycle operation at a later date for more power at greater efficiency.” He adds that TM2500s have been a leading technology for fast and emergency power applications over the past 10 years, with more than 200 units delivered globally and less than half the installation time of other similarlysized power solution. As the world’s largest archipelago with more than 15,000 islands, Indonesia poses a unique challenge when it comes to its electricity demand. 

It requires smaller and more localised power generation solutions, such is the case with Gorontalo. “Altogether, the four units for the Gorontalo province will provide 100 megawatts (MW) of power and will be used for grid stability and expected power demand increases from the people of Sulawesi in the coming years,” Akbar says. 

Generating reliable power in a short time frame

Since Indonesia’s state-owned electricity provider Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) set a target to finish the project in only six months, Akbar says a solution that is easy to deploy and able to generate reliable power quickly is the key to achieve that goal. This is where the TM2500 perfectly fits. “The TM2500 generator set, which is trailer mounted and can be installed faster than traditional power plants, is ideally suited to meet Gorontalo’s growth plans,” he says. “Each TM2500 generator set can produce more than 25 MW of power output in the hot Indonesian climate—enough to power the equivalent of approximately 25,000 homes,” he adds. The gas-fired power plant has improved the province’s electrification ratio to 84.4%. “We believe this improvement will further foster economic growth in the region and improve the
quality of life of the people in Gorontalo,” he adds.

Finishing on time

Akbar says the largest challenge GE Power and the rest of the team had to overcome was the relatively short time-frame. “We were committed to deliver at the soonest time possible, by delivering the ready stock gas turbines as soon as the contract was effective, providing all the necessary supporting instruments (mechanical and electrical BOP) built in modular concept, and providing the best and most efficient manpower,” Akbar says. 

The power plant is currently located in Maleo Village, Paguat District, Pohuwato Regency, and has been operating since March 2016 – the total project was completed in six months. The power from the plant will be distributed through Gardu Induk (GI) Marisa to Gorontalo and North Sulawesi power system. As a result, Akbar says GE Power, with the support and collaboration of PLN and PP, successfully completed the project in a third of the time of regular open-cycle power plant development. “We are proud to work with the Indonesian government to provide our best mobile power solution, the TM2500 aeroderivative gas turbine generator set, to the Gorontalo province,” he says.

Looking ahead

But GE Power’s mission to power the rest of the archipelago doesn’t stop in Gorontalo’s beautiful shores as bigger plans for electrification are in the pipeline. “Based on the success of 100 MW Gorontalo Mobile Power Plant, we are now working with PLN Batam to develop 500 MW in more locations in Indonesia. In this 500 MW Fast Power project, we’re not only bringing our mobile power plant technology, TM2500, but also a complete power plant solutions (transmission and distribution) and financing from GE.,” he says. “In Indonesia, GE is committed to support the government’s plan to add 35GW of power capacity by 2019.”

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