Cirata Dam: More Than Just an Energy Source for Java, Bali, and Madura

The Cirata Dam and its hydroelectric power plant play a crucial role as a peaker. Ongoing innovations are being pursued to explore additional functions for this infrastructure.

Reyhan Fernanda Fajarihza

15 Mei 2024 - 13.13
Cirata Dam: More Than Just an Energy Source for Java, Bali, and Madura

The Cirata hydroelectric power plant (PLTA) is situated within the Cirata Dam in West Java. Bisnis/Muhammad Olga

Bisnis, PURWAKARTA – The Cirata hydroelectric power plant (PLTA) in West Java has served as a vital source of alternative energy in Indonesia, particularly for the islands of Java, Madura, and Bali, for over three decades.

Officially inaugurated by President Soeharto in 1988, the Cirata PLTA boasts an impressive capacity of 1,008 MW, making it the largest hydroelectric power plant in the nation. Beyond its utility, the site has also become a popular tourist destination.

The Cirata PLTA is situated within the Cirata Dam, spanning approximately 200 hectares and across Purwakarta Regency, West Bandung Regency, and Cianjur Regency.

According to Operations Manager of Cirata PLTA Prihanto Budi, the power plant serves a crucial role as a peaker. Operated by PT PLN Nusantara Power, it is equipped with eight generator units.

"PLTA Cirata is integrated into the 500 kilovolt (kV) electric power system connecting Java, Madura, and Bali. In addition to serving as peaker, the Cirata PLTA also plays a crucial role in maintaining the quality of electrical energy within the system, including voltage and frequency," he explained to the Bisnis Indonesia Jelajah Tirta Nusantara 2024 team at the PLN NP UP Cirata Office, Purwakarta Regency, on Monday (13/5/2024).

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Prihanto elaborated that this capability stems from the advanced features of the Cirata PLTA system, one of which is the automatic generator control (AGC).

This feature enables the Cirata PLTA to automatically adjust the generator load to meet the system's requirements. This adjustment can be executed with a single command and within a short timeframe.

"We also have an advantage in terms of system response. From the command to start the generator until reaching a load of 126 megawatts per unit, it only takes 6 minutes. Our advantage lies in the swift generation of electricity into the grid," he elaborated.

The rapid operational capability of the Cirata PLTA was put to the test during a significant blackout that occurred across parts of Java Island in 2019. At that time, electricity supply to Jakarta, Banten, West Java, and the Central Java region was disrupted due to issues with the electrical energy transfer system.

Production Assistant Manager B of Cirata PLTA Sigit Haryanto elucidated that their team was able to rectify the situation owing to the black start and line charging facilities. These facilities enable the restoration of electrical energy supply without reliance on an external power source.



"If the Java, Madura, and Bali systems experience a collapse or blackout, or if there's a complete absence of electricity supply, then the Cirata PLTA will be the first to provide power," he remarked during an encounter with the Bisnis Indonesia Jelajah Tirta Nusantara 2024 team at the Power House area of the Cirata PLTA on Monday (13/5/2024).

He also mentioned that the electricity supply from the Cirata Dam is set to increase following the inauguration of the construction of a floating solar power plant (PLTS) with a capacity of 145 MW in November 2023.

Prihanto clarified that the Cirata floating PLTS is integrated into a 150 kV electric power system but is not directly linked to the PLTA. However, he expressed optimism about potential future collaboration between the two power plants.

"Currently, PLTS operates as an intermittent generator. However, with advanced generator technology and systems, the operational framework can be synchronized with hydroelectric generating systems or generators equipped with governor-free facilities," he elaborated.

Cirata PLTA is committed to extending its benefits to the community by innovating beyond solely fulfilling electricity requirements for the three islands.

Prihanto emphasized that the primary function of the Cirata Dam is flood control from the Citarum River and providing irrigation to the local area. However, the management chose to expand its impact by engaging in various collaborations, such as employing weather modification technology (TMC).

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“The TMC initiative is conducted as the dry season approaches. It is typically implemented at the conclusion of the rainy season and before the onset of the next rainy season,” said Prihanto.

The primary objective is to minimize the repercussions of extreme weather conditions. Additionally, Cirata PLTA collaborates with the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) and the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) to execute the TMC effectively.

In addition to artificial rain operations, the TMC initiative utilizes the ground-based generator (GBG) method. This method involves the use of flares or beacons positioned on towers to seed clouds, thereby enhancing rainfall.

"The flares are strategically positioned on towers, with a total of six towers dedicated to GBG installation across the three reservoirs [Cirata, Saguling, and Jatiluhur]. These towers are strategically located around the Citarum watershed," Prihanto explained.

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Editor: Jaffry Prabu Prakoso

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