Information About Electricity
Get to Know 7 Types of Power Plant
26 January 2024

Types of Power Plants and How They Work


Power plant is the most important facilities in today's modern era. With the ever-increasing need for energy, power plant have a role in providing power to fulfil people's daily needs. Various kinds of power plant have been developed with different technologies, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s find the types of power plants that are commonly used.


1. Steam Power Plant (Thermal Station)


These power plant use steam that is produced by heating water with fossil fuels, such as coal, natural gas or oil. The steam is then used to spin a turbine connected to a generator to produce electricity. Steam power generation has high efficiency, however, environmental issues related to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution are a major concern.


According to information obtained from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM), until 20 April 2022, it was recorded that Indonesia had 253 Steam Power Plants (PLTU). In its distribution, East Kalimantan is the province with the largest number of PLTUs, reaching 26 units. Meanwhile, other provinces that also have a significant contribution to the number of PLTUs are Banten and East Java, each having 22 units.


2. Geothermal Power Plant


Geothermal Power Plant use natural gas as fuel to generate electricity. The power plant process involves burning natural gas to produce heat, which is then used to drive turbines and generators. The advantages of Geothermal Power Plant include the cleanliness of the combustion process and the relatively short start-up time. In 2022, based on data from Databoks Katadata, Indonesia already had 66 Geothermal Power Plant spread across several points in the country.


Also read: How To Calculate The Power Capacity In Your Home


3. Nuclear Power Plant


These power plants use nuclear reactions to produce heat, which is then used to generate electricity. These nuclear reactions usually involve the fission or fusion of atomic nuclei. Nuclear power plants have large capacities and produce no greenhouse gas emissions when operating. However, safety and the impact of radioactive waste are issues that are often discussed regarding this type of power plant. Indonesia does not yet have a nuclear power plant.


4. Hydroelectric Power Stations


Hydroelectric power stations uses the kinetic energy of water to drive turbines to generate electricity. Dams and reservoirs are used to collect and regulate the flow of water. Hydropower has advantages in terms of sustainability and minimal greenhouse gas emissions. However, dam construction can have significant environmental and social impacts.


One of the most famous hydropower plants in Indonesia is the Wonogiri Hydropower Plant. Initially, this hydropower plant that utilizes the water flow from the Gajah Mungkur Reservoir, was built as a flood control measure for the Bengawan Solo River. Then, over time, it also functioned as an electric power producer of 12.4 MegaWatt.


Also read: What is Electrical Power Cable?


5. Wind Power Plant


This power plant uses wind energy to turn windmills or propellers connected to a generator. Wind power generation is growing in popularity as it is a renewable and environmentally friendly energy source. However, reliability and dependence on weather conditions are challenges that need to be overcome.


In Indonesia, wind power generation is known as Pembangkit Listrik Tenaga Bayu (PLTB). A wind farm with a capacity of 75 megawatts (MW) has been established on 100 hectares of land in the hilly area of Pabbaresseng, Mattirotasi Village, Sidrap Regency. In addition to this location, there is also a wind power generation facility in Jeneponto Regency, South Sulawesi Province.


6. Solar Power Plant


Solar power plants convert solar energy into electricity through the use of solar cells. This technology is environmentally friendly and has great potential to be developed as a renewable energy source. However, the cost of energy production and storage is still an issue.


The first largest solar power plant in Indonesia can be found in Wineru Village, East Likupang District, North Minahasa Regency, North Sulawesi Province. A total of 64,620 solar panels are neatly arranged on an area of 29 hectares. On 5 September 2019, Likupang Solar Power Plant began full operation, making it the latest source of electrical energy to be widely deployed in the region.


Also read: Understanding the Difference Between Medium Voltage and Low Voltage


7. Diesel Power Plant


Diesel Power Plant is a type of power plant that uses a diesel engine to produce electrical energy. Diesel engines work by compressing air and spraying diesel fuel into the combustion chamber for combustion, resulting in piston movement which is then used to drive an electric generator.


These plants are generally used as backup power sources or in emergency situations, but can also operate continuously to supply electricity to remote areas or locations that are difficult to reach by the main power grid. Advantages of diesel power plants include high reliability, ease of operation, and flexibility in size and capacity. However, disadvantages include exhaust emissions and operating costs that tend to be higher compared to other energy sources.

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