Indonesia: Lack of rain paralyzes Koto Panjang hydro power plant

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 10 Oct 16;

The scarcity of rain upstream of the Kampar River has caused a drop in the volume of water coming into the Koto Panjang hydro power plant in Kampar regency in Riau to below the minimum required, paralyzing the generator's turbines.

Muhammad Nasir, the head of the Logistics and Emergency Department in Kampar’s Disaster Management Agency (BPBD), said Monday the water volumes had been decreasing for weeks and there had been no signs of improvement. “In the last three days, the spillway gate at the Koto Panjang dam has been completely dry,” he said.

He said the decreasing volumes had affected the output of water flowing into the Kampar River downstream, making the lower part of the river more shallow.

Dwi Suryo Abdullah, a manager at state utility company PLN for Riau and Riau Islands region, said Monday the only hydro power plant in Riau had been paralyzed for three days. “Three turbines that have a capacity of 114 megawatts cannot be operated,” he said.

“I have to emphasize, it was caused by nature, not technical problems,” he said.

“We have tried to turn on one turbine to get 20 MW for 24 hours but the result was a decrease of water height by 5 centimeters. It means the water needed to generate power is more than the water that can get into the dam. Not efficient at all,” he said.

The paralyzed power plant has caused Riau to lose 70 MW of power. To balance the deficit, Riau had to import power from Sumatra’s central and southern parts. (evi)

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