, Indonesia
PT SGPJB President Director Zhao Zhigang. Photo from PT Shenhua.

How running the Jawa-7 helps Indonesia’s clean energy transition

With plant efficiency as high as 45%, the Jawa-7 power plant produces lower carbon emissions.

The Jawa-7 power station may just be another coal-fired power plant, but its high efficiency of 45% is designed to help Indonesia in its pursuit to phase out coal by 2040.

Asian Power sat down with PT Shenhua Guohua Pembangkitan Jawa Bali (PT SGPJB) President Director Zhao Zhigang to talk about the consortium’s coal-fired power plant project, called the Jawa-7. He also shared insights on how the joint venture will gradually work towards carbon neutrality. 

PT SGPJB is a consortium, owned by China Shenhua Energy (70%) and PT Pembangkitan Jawa Bali Investasi (30%). Zhao said PJB’s clean energy transition plans drove China Shenhua to seek partnership with the electricity and energy investment firm.

“Originally, we knew that PJB had the intention to seek cooperation with power industrial companies from all over the world,” he said, as translated. “Its target is also to seek the transition from traditional power industry to renewable power.”

The Jawa-7 is the first ultra-supercritical power plant to operate in Indonesia with high efficiency of 45.04%. The power plant, which has the largest installed capacity in megawatts (MW), is also the first coal-fired power plant to operate the longest without shutdown.


Can you tell us what sets the Jawa-7 coal-fired plant power plants apart from other coal plants there in Indonesia? 

The Jawa-7 power plant has the largest single-unit capacity in Indonesia. Our unit's capacity is 2 x 1,050MW. Our efficiency is very high. It's already above 45% and also our coal consumption efficiency is higher, which has already reached 273 grams per kilowatt-hour. So, this high efficiency is also a measure to reduce carbon emission because our units’ power generation efficiency is high.

The other point is that, as far as we know, the previous Indonesian units used imported equipment from South Korea, Japan, and other Western countries. But in our power plants, all of our equipment is imported from China and they are the best equipment in China and they are provided by the companies with mature and advanced technology. In our infrastructure construction periods, we have placed a team from China regarding the construction, the commissioning, and the design. The reliability of Jawa-7 is very high and after the production of our Unit 1, it has run 302 days consecutively. It now has a long continuous operation.

Because our power plant is built next to the sea, we have our coal jetty, and we used advanced technology from China. It's called the belt coal conveyor technology and we have the longest coal conveyor belt in Asia. As for the water resources in the projects, we have also used advanced dissimulation technology provided by our company that has ensured that we have enough water resources for our company.


What's the current progress of the completion of the power plant and how will you ensure it is finished in a quick time?

Right now, we still have some work left to be finished. Under the influence of the pandemic, some tactical support personnel are having difficulty coming to our sites, whether it's from Indonesia or China. 

Another problem is those particular financial settlements because we have regulations from our Chinese superior company. We must have second party audits personnel to review our project’s financial settlement progress. But for our targets, our initial plan is to finish the financial settlements next year, the first half of next year. 

To ensure the completion of the projects, we introduced two measures. The first one is to coordinate human resources in Indonesia and China. Right now, the pandemic situation in Indonesia is getting better, so it's more convenient for us to have human resources from all sides. The second measure is that for the financial settlements when the pandemic situation gets better, then we will have some professional audit team from China that is assigned by our superior company as we target to finish the plant in the first half of next year.


How will you ensure the reliability and readiness of the plant? 

We use three strategies. The first is to improve our employees’ technical skills, especially for our local employees because the major difficulty is the language barrier. So, our Chinese employees have learned English and our Indonesian employees have learned Chinese. It will be easier for our experienced employees and our fresh graduates to exchange information. The second strategy is to enhance our operations, regulations patterns, and also enhance our maintenance standard. The third strategy is about the material supplier, spare parts supplier. 

Our strategy is to improve supply chain reliability. Our next plan is also to find other companies that have the same demand as us and, in that way, we will share the supply chain and share the material and spare parts storage. For our supply chain for the special power plants products, it's mainly from China, but for other regular resources, we purchased them in Indonesia.


Governments are taking measures to transition to cleaner energy. As you are running a coal-fired power plant, what efforts are you implementing for Jawa-7 to reduce carbon emissions?

The Indonesian government plans that there will be no new coal-fired power plants in 2025 and in 2040, the current coal-fired power plants will be phased out. I think it is very hard for the Indonesian economy to achieve these targets in such a short time. Maybe in the future, we can learn from the Chinese environmental protection policy. The first one is to adopt energy-saving measures because if we can use our energy more with higher efficiency, then it will be better for carbon emission reductions. 

We can also learn from other countries and from all of the works about carbon emission reduction knowledge. We will also comply with the Indonesian government's new environmental protection policy to upgrade our coal power plants.


With Indonesia’s 2040 plans, what technologies and strategies are you looking at to comply with the decarbonisation goals of Indonesia?

Recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping has also said that there will be no more overseas coal-fired power plants from China and the world. We will also use the same strategy as what has already been done in China, which includes gradually promoting carbon neutrality and adopting some energy-saving operations in coal-fired power plants to improve the power plant's efficiency, and then gradually we will phase out the power plants with lower efficiencies. Then maybe in the future, we will also use some more advanced and mature technologies such as carbon capture and other carbon emission-related technologies.


For decarbonisation, the consortium will use the same strategy in China to promote carbon neutrality through energy-saving upgrades. Can you elaborate on these energy-saving upgrades that you're looking at?

I think that the major targets for carbon capture are to capture the carbon dioxide and use high pressure on the grounds so that it can prevent carbon emissions to the atmosphere. If we will promote the carbon emission related upgrades, later in the future, we will have a special professional team to study the feasibility of this project and the possible projects, and then we can adopt carbon emission reduction related knowledge to do the upgrade.


What can we expect for PT Shenhua next year? What's your outlook for 2022?

In 2015, our primary targets are to ensure the safety and reliability of our employees and the units, and we will do social responsibility with the local community to ensure that we have a friendly environment. Another major target is pandemic control and prevention because it involves all personnel in Jawa-7. It includes their health, and also it will affect our operating costs.

Another target for our superior company is that we should be the world's first-class coal-fired power plants. So in detail, we should improve our efficiencies and also reduce the costs. For our plans, it will be about energy saving upwards, and also we will embrace the global carbon emission reduction policies to reduce carbon emission. 

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