Project Story

Story 02
Dieng Small Scale Geothermal Power Plant Dieng Small Scale Geothermal Power Plant

Dieng Small Scale Geothermal Power Plant

Converting Earth's heartbeat into energy for
Indonesia while tackling the impact of COVID-19


The Dieng Plateau lies at an altitude of 2000 meters in Central Java, Indonesia. In July 2021, the Dieng Small Scale Geothermal Power Plant was completed. Of all renewable energies, geothermal power is considered a base load power source capable of generating stable power with reduced carbon dioxide emissions compared to equivalent thermal power plants. Geothermal development is expected to pick up in Indonesia, which has the second largest geothermal resources in the world. On the strength of its cumulative engineering technology and expertise from past power and infrastructure projects, NEWJEC consulted for the Dieng Small Scale Geothermal Power Plant through to its completion and start of commercial operation. However, NEWJEC's first foray into construction management for a geothermal power plant was also a struggle against COVID-19.


  • Seiji Ito Seiji Ito International Business Operations,
    International Business Department
    Civil Engineering Team,
    Civil and Environmental Engineering Group
    Project Manager. After joining NEWJEC out of university, he worked at the World Water Forum Secretariat and the United Nations, handling sustainable development with a focus on water environments. Ito has worked in the International Business Operations section since 2013.
  • Kiyoshi Izawa Kiyoshi Izawa International Business Operations,
    International Business Department
    Jakarta Office,
    International Affairs Group
    Acting head of the Jakarta Office since 2015, Izawa headed up electromechanical engineering during the construction management phase. Getting his start at a manufacturer, he has extensive experience with hydropower plants. Izawa's Indonesia ties date back 25 years.
  • Hitoshi Ota Hitoshi Ota International Business Operations,
    International Business Department
    Electrical Team,
    Energy and Power System Engineering Group
    Charged with engineering for power systems using renewable energy. After working at a manufacturer, Ota joined NEWJEC in 2019. He has been working with renewable energy for more than 30 years, including his student days.

Chapter 1

NEWJEC's first geothermal power project commissioned through to construction management

Geothermal power generation is garnering attention as a clean energy source. From around 2012, NEWJEC started work on geothermal power generation jointly between its Domestic Sales Operations and International Business Operations sections. NEWJEC built up technologies and systems capable of implementing entire projects, from underground development and upper plant design to construction management.
Looking to test their capabilities, the newly added capacity for the small scale geothermal power plant in Indonesia's Dieng Plateau represented the first project in which NEWJEC consulted through to completed construction and commencement of commercial operation. Directing everything was Ito Seiji.
"Originally, the Dieng Geothermal Field had a geothermal power plant that started service in 1998. That plant is now operated by Geo Dipa Energy (GDE). Although rated for output of 60 MW, the existing power plant was operating at about 50% to 70% of its rating due to aging and other factors. Steam was going unused, so our proposal: use the excess steam to enhance the facilities, working together with a turbine generator manufacturer. They accepted, and the Dieng Small Scale Geothermal Power Project had commenced. We received orders for the basic design in 2017, procurement support in 2018, and construction management in 2019. For NEWJEC, this was our first construction management project for a geothermal power plant and our first non-ODA project with a private overseas business operator."

Dieng, Central Java, Indonesia

Dieng, Central Java, Indonesia

Main NEWJEC work
*Impacts of COVID-19

  • 2017
    Basic design
  • 2018
    Procurement support
  • October 2018
    Declared contractor, operations started
  • November 2019
    Construction management started
  • February 2020
    Groundbreaking ceremony
  • *April 2020
    Evacuated to Japan due to COVID-19
  • August/September 2020
    Shop inspections
  • *October 2020
    Returned to Indonesia, but kept on standby in Jakarta
  • *December 2020
    Returned to Dieng
  • March 2021
    Equipment installation completed
  • April 2021
    Operation commencement ceremony
  • *May 2021
    COVID-19 cluster discovered in the control room
  • July 2021
    Delivery to operator and start of commercial operation

Chapter 2

Just after groundbreaking, dark clouds cast their shadow over the globe

Construction of the small scale geothermal power plant was slated to move forward with three parties: The client, GDE; the construction contractor; and the project management consultant (PMC), comprised of NEWJEC and a local consultant. Then, in February 2020, just as the groundbreaking ceremony was held and we were all ready to get to work, a huge dark cloud is cast over the project: COVID-19.

Groundbreaking ceremony (February 2020)
Groundbreaking ceremony (February 2020)

"In April 2020, just two months after the ceremony, we were forced to evacuate to Japan. It was tough throughout the duration of the project; we had to coordinate between client, construction contractor, and manufacturers, thinking how to minimize the impact while watching the COVID-19 situation and comparing it against the work schedule." - Seiji Ito
Kiyoshi Izawa, Manager of the Jakarta Office and himself an electromechanical engineer, also supported the struggling Ito with his years of expertise. "COVID-19 or not, our job was to deliver a high-quality power plant as soon as possible. NEWJEC, the client, the contractor-we all shared the same objective. In the process, differences of opinion are bound to arise, so even if we disagree, we should be completely open with each other. This will ultimately lead to trust. That was Ito's mindset at the time. To me, the fact that we were able to hash things out and become one team shows that it all worked out in the end."

Groundbreaking ceremony (February 2020)
Groundbreaking ceremony (February 2020)

Chapter 3

A cluster breaks out one month from completion

The cooling towers and steam pipes are built out, and the turbine generators and control equipment are installed. However, a power plant can't simply be assembled and expected to work just like that. In particular, steam is natural and difficult to control. In the absence of face-to-face talks on site, how do you fine-tune things to achieve the desired performance? Through trial and error, Ito continued his supervision remotely, including holding timely online meetings and checking detailed videos as taken by local staff. Hitoshi Ota, like Izawa an electrical engineer, oversaw the site checks from Japan.
"I provided support from Japan, reviewing test results for the generator, turbine, control equipment, and more, and fielding questions on any failures or problems. We've improvised to achieve our potential as planned, with things such as using site photos and videos for checks and using VR glasses to remotely view points on site in more detail. Using IT solutions for site checks like this may be a huge step, but it was still hard not being able to be there on site.
Your senses can tell you a lot: feeling the vibrations of the machinery, hearing the sounds, and smelling the smells."
In April 2021, steam was run through the turbine for the first time, followed by commissioning. Then in early May, just a month from completion, a COVID cluster broke out in the control room, mostly spread among the monitoring team. With more than 30 infected, we were forced to grind the gears to a halt for about 4 weeks. "'A cluster right here at the finish line?' I thought. Myself in quarantine, we discussed in depth with the client and contractor how to proceed in cooperation with each other. It was hard, but we managed to get through it somehow. We were able to continue the final testing with some deft use of remote work. At the heart of things, I think the trust built between the three parties from all the turmoil is what got us through. - Seiji Ito

  • Turbine generator installation (December 2020)
    Turbine generator installation (December 2020)
  • PCS/TCS loop function testing (March 2021)
    PCS/TCS loop function testing (March 2021)

Chapter 4

Reaching carbon neutral using geothermal power

Construction management operations started in November 2019 and completed in July 2021, three months late by the original plans, and commercial operations began.
"With other overseas projects, it was commonplace for COVID-19 to push completion back an entire year. Maybe it's a miracle that we finished only 3 months late. This fact was highly praised in Indonesia as well. With so many regions left in Indonesia with power insufficiencies, I am confident that completion of this power plant has made a significant contribution to the local community." - Kiyoshi Izawa
"The moment the steam turbine first started, I got chills. With Japanese turbines being so technologically advanced and quiet, it's hard to tell it's running without putting an ear to it though. A few days later, we connected the generator and started transmitting power. It felt like this is what we came here to do; like all our hard work had paid off." - Seiji Ito
"It should be a model case for using Indonesia's abundant geothermal energy resources to develop more small scale geothermal power generation like this." - Hitoshi Ota
The introduction of renewable energy technologies will also continue to attract more attention in Japan, which has declared its intent to be carbon neutral by 2050. With the aim of promoting the clean energy so essential for one day achieving a sustainable society, we at NEWJEC will continue to actively support both domestic and overseas development of geothermal power.

  • Equipment installation complete (April 2021)
    Equipment installation complete (April 2021)
  • Operation commencement ceremony (April 2021)
    Operation commencement ceremony (April 2021)