Indonesia begins embracing wind power

The country’s first large-scale wind turbines plant will be built in Sukabumi, West Java, later this year this with a total capacity of 30 megawatts, according to a news report in The Jakarta Post.

The story noted PLN renewable energy division head Muhammad Sofyan, said that the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry had approved the project and local energy firm Viron Energy was waiting for the ministry to issue an official permit to begin construction.

“Next month we’ll sign the contract with the developer,” Sofyam was quoted as saying. PLN is Indonesia’s state-owned electricity firm.

The story added Luluk Sumiarso, the ministry’s director general for new and renewable energy and energy conservation, said 2011 would herald rapid development of Indonesia’s renewable energy resources.

“Next month, in addition to the wind farm project, the government will also issue three letters ordering PLN to buy power from geothermal producers,” he was quoted as saying, adding he was happy with PLN’s commitment to boost the use of alternative and renewable energy.

Many foreign and local investors have expressed interest in developing renewable energy in Indonesia, Luluk said, adding he hopes the construction of Indonesia’s first large-scale wind-generated power plant in Sukabumi will stimulate further investment.

According to the Global Wind Energy Council, Indonesia wants to build 255 MW of wind turbines capacity by 2025.

With approximately 243 million people, Indonesia trails only China, India and the US in terms of population. The south-east Asian tropical republic is made up of more than 17,500 islands. According to a 2009 estimate in the CIA’s World Factbook, Indonesia imports 456,700 barrels of oil each day.

According to, only 65% of Indonesians can currently access electricity. In some areas of eastern Indonesia, that rate drops to as low as 20%.

The website has quoted a PLN official as saying it would require €43 billion to provide electricity to the entire country by 2020.

By Chris Rose,