Micro hydro power plant brings light to village in West Java


(Photo: iStock)

The Gununghalu village, situated in Indonesia's West Bandung Regency in West Java, serves as an exemplary model for achieving renewable energy independence, with implications applicable worldwide.

By harnessing energy from river flow, the community can generate its electricity, reducing reliance on the state-owned electricity firm, Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN).

The micro hydro power plant taps into the abundant river water resources, enabling sustainable electricity generation with minimal carbon emissions.

According to Toto Sutanto, the local community leader, the community constructed the power plant in 2007 upon recognizing that the abundant water flow of the Ciputri River was adequate for establishing a micro hydro power plant. The community received funds from the West Java Provincial Government via the Energy and Mineral Resources Agency. 

In the 1990s, the region faced a shortage of electricity. Its primarily agricultural community depended on basic technology for power, such as water wheels, with the majority of households located along the river.

West Java province has a renewable energy potential of 192 GW, but only around 3.41 GW, or 2%, is currently utilized.

While the province benefits from diverse renewable energy sources such as solar, hydro, geothermal, biomass, and wind power, certain residents continue to experience electricity access challenges due to disparities in pricing and distribution. According to Antara, about 204,608 families in West Java province are unable to access electricity.

After a year of operating as the administrator of the Gununghalu micro hydro power plant, it was transitioned to the Rimba Lestari Gununghalu Cooperative in 2008, which is a coffee processing cooperative led by Sutanto.

According to Sutanto, out of 100 households in Gununghalu village, 80 utilize the power plant's hydroelectricity, with each receiving 450 W of power.

The residents choose electricity from the micro hydro power plant due to its affordability and reliability. Meanwhile, others use electricity from PLN, or a combination of both sources.

In terms of fees, electricity from river flow is more budget-friendly, priced at around 25,000 Indonesian Rupiah per month, compared to PLN's charges, which amount to 50,000 Rupiah per month.

The Gununghalu micro hydro power plant not only supplies electricity but also promotes environmental conservation among residents. Since its operations rely on a consistent water flow, Sutanto said that locals are reluctant to disturb the forest nearby.

Maintaining the pristine forests is essential to sustain the water flow of the Ciputri River for the micro hydro power plant. Consequently, the green forest in Gununghalu remains intact.

Furthermore, to expand its utility, the residents agreed to the installation of an additional micro hydro power plant. Construction commenced in February 2024, and according to Sutanto, the new unit will have the capacity to generate 30 kW of power.

Related Topics
Indonesia revokes license of the largest forestry offsets project in the world
Indonesia expected to introduce new law to stimulate carbon trading market

More from Renewable Energy Certificate

Download request

Please fill out the form to download samples.

Job title
Company email
By using this site, you agree with our use of cookies.