California Power Experts Share Knowledge in Interconnecting Solar and Wind Power to PLN Grid

5 March 2019

Indonesia is building more renewable energy power plants, especially solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind power. The electricity produced from these two abundant energies cannot always be used due to their fluctuating nature; the intermittency of solar PV and wind power poses an interconnecting challenge for utilities. State Electricity Company (PLN), the state-owned utility that manages the country’s electricity network, is tapping knowledge and expertise from California to address issues on interconnection of variable renewable energy into their power grid.

In collaboration with PLN, USAID Indonesia Clean Energy Development II (ICED II) held “Workshop of Grid Impact Study for Variable Renewable Energy Generation Plant” on March 4-8, 2019 in Yogyakarta. The study’s methodologies for system interconnection and grid integration will help PLN bring more electricity produced by renewable energy power plants into grid operation. It will lead to reliable, safe and efficient power system operation in accordance with grid code. Additionally, the study will ensure that proposed renewable energy power plants can provide as much power as planned.

“This workshop is important to learn. We have to start this study because it is crucial,” stated Amir Rosyidin, Director of Regional Business, Central Java, PLN in his keynote speech to open the workshop. He expressed his appreciation for USAID ICED II support in this training and hoped that this collaboration would continue in the future.

Afrizal, Head of Sub-directorate of Electricity Cooperation, Directorate General of Electricity, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, explained that the government is conforming with international standards in energy to increase the use of clean energy in Indonesia. “The government, as the regulator, will develop an integration system for electricity distribution efficiency according to the international standard,” he said, and emphasized the importance of collaboration between the government and other stakeholders for a successful energy transformation.

A total of 49 officials from PLN and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources took part in the training. Many of the staff from PLN were young engineers whose responsibilities are closely related to interconnecting variable renewable energy into the power grids. During the workshop, they learned through applied, hands-on exercises on various power grid scenarios, impact analysis, and appropriate mitigation measures for potentially adverse impacts.

Staff from the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) shared lessons learned on methodologies for assessing potential impacts of variable renewable energy interconnection to the power grid and forecasting load demand and requirements for grid reliability. They also shared various tools for system impact analyses to ensure reliable integration of variable renewable energy.

One of three participating CAISO experts, Director of Operations Engineering Services Dede Subakti gave his advice for the young engineers. “We are undergoing unprecedented change. The world is changing. It’s either we are going to be ahead of the change or dragged by the change,” he said, referring to the increasing use of variable renewable energy worldwide.

The training concluded with PLN identifying best practices to adopt in their transmission system planning and operations to optimize grid integration of variable renewable energy.