Korean-Italian joint venture to build major new hydro plant in Indonesia

Korean and Italian firms have won roles building a major new hydropower scheme in Indonesia, financed by the World Bank.

Italy’s Astaldi Group and South Korea’s Daelim, in joint venture with an Indonesian firm, Wika, will build the dams for the planned $800m Upper Cisokan hydroelectric power plant on the Island of Java.

The two contracts, together worth $234m, are Astaldi’s first in Indonesia and follow its strategy of international expansion.

Daelim is a 40% shareholder in the JV, with Astaldi and Wika each holding 30%.

The Upper Cisokan pumped storage power plant will be the first of its kind for Indonesia and is expected to provide over 1,040 MW of peak-hour electricity to the Java-Bali power system.

In pumped storage systems (example from Taiwan pictured above) the water is pumped to an upper reservoir and released to a lower one to generate electricity during periods of peak demand.

The World Bank approved a $640m loan for the scheme in May 2011.

Indonesia needs a better electricity supply if it is to become a large, mid-income economic power, the World Bank said.

"As it stands now, Indonesia has one of the lowest consumption rates per capita in the region. Electrification ratios too remain low," Stefan G Koeberle, the World Bank’s Indonesia country director, said in 2011.

"This project will help boost the peaking capacity of the Java-Bali power system, reduce oil dependency and support economic growth over the medium to long term."

The client is Indonesia’s public power utility, PT PLN (Persero), which is providing $160m for the scheme.

The JV must build the lower and upper dams, which are 75m and 98m in height respectively. For these, around a million cubic metres of roller-compacted concrete will be used, Astaldi said.

Moving the water up and down requires 6km of tunnels up to 10m in diameter, and the JV must also build an underground power station, ventilation works and an electrical substation.

Work starts in early 2016 and is scheduled for completion in just over four years (50 months).

Photograph: The Mingtan Dam, part of a pumped storage hydro power plant in Taiwan. The Upper Cisokan scheme will debut the pumped storage approach in Indonesia (David 75610/Wikimedia Commons)

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