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GE predix initiative

Supporting a Brighter Indonesia

Achin Kumar
January 04, 2017
It’s dark, so we flick a switch and a light comes on. For many of us this is the simplest act in the world. Yet for nearly 30 million Indonesians, many of whom live in rural communities, that simple act is still not something they can experience in the comfort of their own homes. The Bright Indonesia initiative aims to fix that.
Indonesia has made remarkable strides in electrifying a nation over the last decade. A country which in 2009 had an electrification rate of just 66%, today boasts electricity access for a remarkable 88.3% of the population. That progress should be praised. It shows the results of a government dedicated to providing the most basic of resources to its citizens: access to electricity.

Indonesia’s much celebrated 35GW plan sets out the goals for additional energy generation to power a nation. But for many living in rural communities, it is not the capacity of the national grid which poses challenges, but provision of even the most basic access. In delivering electricity to a country of 255 million people, there are greater difficulties than mere numbers to overcome.

Indonesia’s electrification challenge

In a nation as unique as Indonesia, it’s no surprise that provision of electricity poses such a challenge. This is a country comprised of 34 diverse provinces spread over 17,000 islands, divided by tropical seas, dense jungle, and often forbidding mountainous terrain.

These very reasons are why Indonesian electrification rates vary so wildly. The capital Jakarta unsurprisingly boasts the highest access, with 99% electrification, but compare that to Papua New Guinea, with only 43% electrification, and you begin to see the scope of the challenge the nation faces.

The Indonesian government has dedicated itself to equally admirable electrification targets going forward as those delivered in the past, and by 2019 aims to deliver 97% electrification to the nation. At the heart of that drive will be the Bright Indonesia initiative.

Delivering a brighter Indonesia

Bright Indonesia is an ambitious 3-stage project which aims to deliver electricity to Indonesia’s rural communities. By 2019 the project seeks to electrify over 12,000 villages, delivering 1GW of power to those parts of the nation which need it most.

This isn’t simply delivering access to light at the flick of the switch. Electrification generates employment, delivers better education, ensures higher standards of healthcare and provides a better environment for citizens. The World Health Organisation estimates that household air pollution from solid combustible fuel kills around 4 million people each year globally. Delivering electrification for rural communities means delivering a better standard of living for all.

The first stage of Bright Indonesia offers the most direct solution to electrification challenges. The project aims to identify villages in geographical proximity to those already enjoying the benefits of electrification. By extending electricity supply infrastructure, a wider grid can be created to cover neighbouring villages.

Grid extensions offer an answer in some areas, but for remote areas with scattered households, a more direct solution is needed. In those circumstances Bright Indonesia aims to deliver individualised solar systems for homes. With the falling price of global solar modules, and Indonesia’s not insignificant solar potential, solar offers an increasingly viable economic alternative to rural electrification.

However it’s those homes which fall between these two groups where the most innovative solutions can be delivered. That’s where GE’s microgrid technology fits in.

Hybrid power delivering smart global solutions

With just under half of Indonesia’s population still living in rural environments, electrifying rural villages is vital. Yet many villages are distant from the infrastructure required for connection to the national grid. GE is ready to answer this challenge with smart microgrid solutions.

Innovative microgrid technologies offer an answer that can truly change lives. In Rakuru, perched high in the stunning natural beauty of the Indian Himalayas, a GE team recently had the opportunity to deliver such a life-changing experience. A team of eight GE employees dared the winding mountain paths to deliver and install solar-powered electrical lighting to this 700-year old mountain village, illuminating this stunning rural oasis for the very first time.

This same innovative approach to electrification offers solutions in rural Indonesia. A centralised hybrid power system utilising diesel and solar generation can provide a localised microgrid for villages, sharing the economies of power generation without the need for costly infrastructure investment.

GE’s successful pilot in the Himalayan village of Rakuru shows innovative microgrid solutions not only address the challenges of rural electrification, but offer a huge positive impact for the people whose lives it will illuminate. Thanks to Bright Indonesia, GE is able to utilise similar technologies to deliver targeted solutions through a pilot study in support of the Indonesian Government’s own ambitious initiative.

In offering a diesel-solar solution, combined with GE’s Predix software to ensure the highest efficiencies, this hybrid microgrid technology reduces the generational cost of electricity below that of single source diesel power generation. As well as the local benefit of a cleaner, more efficient source of power, these solutions will further contribute towards the Indonesian government’s goal of 19% renewable share of the energy mix by 2019.

GE’s commitment to powering everyone

With over 70 years in Indonesia, GE is committed to providing efficient power solutions that deliver real impact. The company has a strong history working within the country, and with our recent commitment to a further US$1billion investment in Indonesia, the scope of those solutions is now more exciting than ever.

With 1.3 billion people in the world without access to electricity, GE is dedicated to playing its own part in powering everyone. Whether that’s scaling the heights of the Himalayas or delivering electricity to the rural heartland of Indonesia, GE is an organisation delivering smarter power solutions to the world.

Bright Indonesia is an opportunity to contribute our global experience in delivering electricity to those 30 million people in Indonesia who still lack access today. But GE’s solution in support of Bright Indonesia offers an even more exciting prospect - a national template with global impact. Ultimately in delivering electricity to Indonesia’s rural communities, we pave the way to solutions for the world.

That’s a Bright Indonesia, helping brighten the world.