Sat, 22 Feb 2003

Three consortia to compete for Muara Tawar power plant

A'an Suryana The Jakarta Post Jakarta

State electricity company PLN has short-listed three consortia to be selected as the developer of its US$240 million Muara Tawar power plant in Bekasi, West Java.

PLN corporate secretary Muljo Adji AG said on Friday that the first consortium consisted of Siemens, Balfour Beatty and Samsung.

The second comprises Alstom Power Esi, Alstom Switzerland Ltd., Marubeni Corp. and PT Matlamat Cakra Canggih. While the third group consists of PT Imeco Inter Sarana and PT Rekayasa Industry.

"The winner of the bidding will be announced by March 31 this year," Muljo told The Jakarta Post and Koran Tempo daily.

He explained that initially 54 companies had competed to be the developer of the Muara Tawar open cycle gas turbine power plant, but after a one-month selection process, the number of bidders shrank to three consortia.

According to Muljo, the winner will be selected mainly based on the lowest price per rupiah/kilowatt hour (kWh) being offered.

The winning bidder will be obliged to build six power units, each with a generation capacity of between 100 and 150 megawatts (MW).

The contract will include engineering, construction, transportation, operation and maintenance within the warranty period, said Muljo, without mentioning the length of the warranty period.

Muljo said that after the winner was announced next month, it would be followed with the signing of a contract on April 15, at which time the project will officially start.

Construction of the plant, which will stand on six hectares of land in Bekasi, some 70 kilometers east of Jakarta, is slated to be completed by June 30, 2004, said Muljo.

The plan to build Muara Tawar power plant is part of PLN's attempt to meet the growing demand for electricity in Indonesia, particularly in Java and Bali.

The current capacity of the Java-Bali power grid is some 18,000 MW, while its peak load stands at 13,700 MW. A power crisis is imminent, given that the demand for power grows by 8 percent annually, while PLN investment in the power sector has been basically zero since the financial crisis started in the late 1990s.

Without new investment in the power generation sector, it is feared that Java and Bali could face a power crisis in coming years.

But there has been strong criticism against the Muara Tawar power plant project, mainly focusing on the cost of the technology being proposed.

Fabby Tumiwa of the Working Group on Power Sector Restructuring (WG-PSR), a non-governmental organization, said that the proposed technology, called the 100-150 MW E-type power generation, was costlier compared to the 250 MW F-type.

He pointed out that the investment cost of the F-type technology was only $249.38 million, compared to E-type's $262.5 million.

He said that the higher investment cost would eventually be passed on to electricity users, namely households and industry.