Indonesia is one of the top countries that emit the most greenhouse gas. For this reason, they intend to reduce this to carbon neutrality by 2060.
This move might be a problem since Indonesia’s demand for electricity will increase 30 times its current capacity, going up to 9,000 Terawatt-hours (TWh) annually. An increase in consumption will result from rising living standards, population increase, and overwhelming electrification. The massive increase in electricity consumption might also lead to more problems such as energy security, affordability, and sustainability for the environment.
For these reasons, Indonesia intends to look for other sources and rely on solar energy. The country estimates to harvest 190,000 TWh per year if they install solar panels. The amount harvested is more than enough to cover the energy consumption demand in 2020.
The country also foresees when the energy shortage since the sun is not always going to be available. To balance this energy demand during the rainy season, they intend to rely on a nature-based solution: the off-river hydro energy storage or PHES.
PHES utilizes stored energy from the excess generated by solar panels to pump water to a reservoir somewhere high. Then, when solar energy is weak, especially during the night or rainy weather, the water from the higher reservoir is released to generate energy through the turbines. The country already has excellent sites for these reservoirs all over the country – Java, Bali, and Sumatra, to name a few.
Hydro Energy to Off-Set Solar Energy Shortage
The country will have more than what they need, with around 26,000 potential hydro sites. This is possible even considering the highest storage quality and lowest cost for the hydropower resources.
The eastern regions of Indonesia, such as Kalimantan, Maluku Papua, Sulawesi, seem to have the most potential, even with low storage requirements. However, the western regions such as Java and Sumatra are estimated to encounter more substantial storage demands in the future.
Indonesia is still going to consider whether it’s better to create a link between east and west power grids or to have them operate independently.
Pumped hydro storage has the largest share of energy storage worldwide and is considered the cheapest way of storing solar energy.
By determining Indonesia’s hydropower potential, the government can proceed to develop solar generation without worrying too much about shortages. As a result, the country can finally achieve carbon neutrality through both of these methods with a more realistic strategy.