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Transmission link brings hydropower from Malaysia to Indonesia

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Government of Indonesia plan to build a cross-border power transmission line linking West Kalimantan with Sarawak, Malaysia, bringing hydroelectricity to West Kalimantan and adding 8000 households to its power grid.

“West Kalimantan gets renewable energy and will have the ability to exchange power; Sarawak starts its first export of hydropower; and the region moves one step closer to establishing a regional power transmission link that crosses Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia,” said ADB energy specialist Sohail Hasnie.

Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), the Indonesian state-owned electricity company, currently uses oil for power generation in West Kalimantan, which has pushed the cost up to US$0.25 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Under the power exchange agreement signed with Sarawak, the cost of power in West Kalimantan could be cut to US$0.18/kWh, while carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel-based generation could be cut by 400,000 tons each year by 2020.

The project will build a 145 km distribution line, distribution feeder extensions, and a new substation to improve the reliability of power in West Kalimantan. An 83 km cross-border high-voltage transmission line and substation will connect the West Kalimantan power grid to that of neighbouring Sarawak, Malaysia. An estimated 230 megawatt-hour of power could be exchanged every hour between the two systems.

“This will make a long-term relationship with our neighbours and a step forward to making the ASEAN interconnection a reality,” said PLN's head of power system planning, I Made Ro Sakya.

The interconnection project is expected to save PLN an estimated US$100 million annually in avoided oil generation. An estimated 8000 households will also benefit from training on energy efficiency, provision of energy-efficient lighting, and improved community centres, such as hospitals and schools, which will have access to a reliable power source.

In addition to its US$49.5 million loan, ADB will also administer a US$49.5 million loan provided by the French development agency Agence Française de Développement, as well as a US$2 million grant provided by the Multi-Donor Clean Energy Fund under the Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility. BIMP-EAGA is the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-The Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area.

ADB is currently preparing a second loan project to finance the transmission line on the Malaysia side. Both countries have agreed to complete the construction by December 2014 and power flow will start from 1 January 2015.

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Energy infrastructure  •  Other marine energy and hydropower  •  Policy, investment and markets