Groundbreaking: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (center) inaugurates the ground breaking of Pertamina’s US$1.4 billion fuel-processing unit at the Cilacap refinery in Central Java. The President also inaugurated the operation of three large power plants during the occasion, which was also attended by (from left) Pertamina president director Karen Agustiawan, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik, Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa, Central Java Governor Bibit Waluyo and State-Owned Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan.
As part of the country’s ongoing drive to boost its economic growth, state electricity company PT PLN officially inaugurated operations at the Banten 1 coal-fired power plant in Suralaya on Wednesday, with a total capacity of 625 megawatts (MW).
PLN president director Nur Pamudji said the launch of the power plant was expected to help Banten province, a major center of industrial activity in Indonesia, to accelerate growth in the industrial sector.
“Given the expanded electricity infrastructure, I believe that Banten is ready to welcome further industrial expansion. It will be good for the province as more jobs will be created,” he told attendees at the launching ceremony.
He revealed that the construction of the power plant was financed through US$368 million from PLN’s internal reserves plus buyer’s credit worth Rp 1 trillion (US$109.55 million). The project contractor was the consortium of CNTIC and PT Rekayasa Industri.
The construction process took 54.5 months. Commercial operations at the Banten 1 power plant started on Aug. 22 this year. The plant will use 2.9 million tons of low-rank coal per year as its primary energy source with supplies coming from Kalimantan and Sumatra on a 20-year contract.
Around 2,800 people were employed in the plant’s construction.
“2.9 million tons of coal is equal to 1.2 million kiloliters of oil-based fuels which means that we can save up to Rp 7.5 trillion per year with the decline in oil fuel consumption,” Pamudji said.
In addition to the Banten 1 power plant, PLN is also launching the Banten 3 power plant in Lontar which has a total capacity of 3×315 MW. The first unit has already begun commercial operations while the remaining two units will follow in the near future after passing the operational test phase.
Banten 1 and Banten 3 are part of the first phase of the 10,000 MW fast-track program.
Pamudji reported the operations of the Banten 1 and Banten 3 plants would be supported by the completion of a transmission network connecting Labuan, Saketi and Rangkas Bitung. He hoped that the presence of the network would stimulate the emergence of industrial areas in Saketi which was at present dominated by household consumers.
Ratu Atut Chosiyah, the governor of Banten, claimed that an expanded electricity infrastructure would provide ample opportunity for the province to attract further investment in coming years. Despite the existence of the current 19 industrial areas in the province, she said Banten still had more than enough land for industrial expansion.
“We hope that increased industrialization will accelerate our economic growth,” said Ratu. With the launch of Banten 1 and Banten 3 unit 1, the province now contributes 6,410 MW to the Java-Bali grid system.
In Central Java, the government also officially launched the operation of the Tanjung Jati B Expansion coal-fired power plant with a total capacity of 2×662 MW. The plant is run under the independent power producer scheme and PLN has leased the plant for 20 years.
The three power plants were part of a group of projects inaugurated by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at a ceremony held in Cilacap, West Java.
In his speech, through a video conference, the President said that improving the country’s electricity infrastructure was vital considering the year on year increase in the national population.
However, the President’s visit was marred by protests staged by students from the Indonesian Islamic Student Movement (PMII) and the Cilacap Muhammadiyah Students Union. Several of the students were arrested.
The students demanded that the President and Vice President Boediono resign because of what the students claimed was the failure of their development programs especially those related to the improvement of the people’s welfare. During the official trip to the city, the President also visited Pertamina Refinery Unit IV.
In the refinery complex, the President witnessed the groundbreaking of the construction of a Residual Fluid Catalytic Cracking (RFCC) refinery facility. (Rangga D. Fadillah & Agus Maryono, The Jakarta Post)