Hydropower Potential in Indonesia: Assessment of theoretical, technical and economic potential of hydropower

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Indonesia has a severe problem of fossil fuel dependency, making it become one the world’s larger carbon emission contributor. At the same time, the growing population will increase the energy demand in the future. Thus, in order to meet the energy demand and decrease the carbon emission, the government together with PLN as the state electricity company will committed to implement carbon neutral targets by 2060. Additional of 413 GW installed power capacity will be necessary in which 308 GW generated from renewable energy. Indonesia has many renewable energy alternatives that can be utilized such as solar, wind, biomass, and hydropower. Among various renewable energy alternatives, hydropower has emerged as one of the means to achieve the aforementioned targets. Indonesia has a hydropower potential of around 75 GW from large hydropower and 19.4 GW from small hydropower, meanwhile, due to a number of barriers, hydropower contributed only 7% from installed large-scale hydropower and 2% from installed small-scale power plants.

In order to reach the government’s goals, further study is needed to better understand the hydropower potential in Indonesia. Hence, the aim of this research is to quantify the potential of hydropower for Indonesia to find the possible location based on the economic consideration and to understand the positive influence of hydropower application. The analyses will be done using GIS-based modelling approach based on three DEM sources with 3 different resolutions, namely DEMNAS (0.27 arcseconds), USGS (1 arcsecond) and MERIT (3 arcseconds). The gross theoretical potential will be calculated based on the river discharge and the head of every pixel of the DEM. Further, the technical potential could be obtained by eliminating the output of theoretical potential with contraints area. Subsequently, the cost components (e.g investment and operational cost) will be added to the model to quantify the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). The potential location that has LCOE lower the cost of power generation.

Based on the analysis, the theoretical potential in Indonesia ranges for approximately 159 GW to 182 GW, or in annual energy production amounts to 1400 TWh to 1600 TWh. Subsequently, the technical potential after eliminating the constraints area decreased to around 550 TWh (63 GW) – 700 TWh (80 GW). On the other hand, based on the technical potential results, the LCOE ranges from 1 to 69 cent USD/kWh. However, only around 45% of the total technical potential is economically feasible. Thus, the hydropower potential lowered to 240 TWh (10 GW) – 690 TWh (38 GW). According the results, hydropower could cover 9% to 25% of the total required additional capacity planned by PLN and could reduce the carbon emission around 90% compared to the carbon emission of fossil fuels. Since this study used three different DEM resolutions, the output of the analyses varies depending on the DEM used. Based on the results, higher resolution DEM could delineate river shape better and thus the location of estimated hydropower potential location could be more accurate. However, DEM with larger pixel size could detect better the medium and large hydropower potential