No new coal power sta­tions in Java, Jo­nan says

The Jakarta Post - - BUSINESS - Fer­gus Jensen

No more coal-fired power sta­tions to be ap­proved in Java Coal makes up 57% of en­ergy mix

In­done­sia will not ap­prove any new coal-fired power sta­tions on the heav­ily pop­u­lated is­land of Java as the coun­try strives to reach its re­new­able en­ergy devel­op­ment tar­gets, the en­ergy min­is­ter said on Thurs­day.

“We will not ap­prove any coal­fired power plants in Java, this is­land, any more,” En­ergy and Min­eral Re­sources Min­is­ter Ig­na­sius Jo­nan told a press con­fer­ence.

Java is home to about two thirds of In­done­sia’s pop­u­la­tion of 250 mil­lion, but the is­land is also far bet­ter sup­plied with elec­tric­ity than the rest of the ar­chi­pel­ago, par­tic­u­larly east­ern In­done­sia.

“We will push, very hard, in the near fu­ture that Java should build the re­new­ables, as well as geo­ther­mal es­pe­cially, as well as gas­fired power plants,” Jo­nan said, re­fer­ring to gas power plants “at the well head.”

The gov­ern­ment has also re­vived plans to de­velop high volt­age un­der­sea power ca­bles link­ing the is­lands of Su­ma­tra, Java and Bali, he said.

“So when­ever Java needs the power, Su­ma­tra can send it to Java and the other way around.”

In­done­sia is com­mit­ted to a tar­get to in­crease the re­new­able por­tion of the en­ergy mix to 23 per­cent by 2025 from about 12 per­cent at present, and ex­pects to reach 18 per­cent in the next three years, Jo­nan said.

How­ever, the gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to pri­ori­tise price in de­cid­ing power sources, he added.

“While I do un­der­stand that it’s not easy to com­pete with coal­fired power plants, es­pe­cially with mine-mouth power plants, they do have to com­pete with gas power,” Jo­nan said, re­fer­ring to “strict” power tar­iff ne­go­ti­a­tions.

In the first nine months of this year, In­done­sia signed a to­tal of 1,023 megawatts of re­new­able en­ergy con­tracts, about dou­ble the to­tal amount signed in the three years be­fore that, Jo­nan said.

Coal makes up around 57 per­cent of the en­ergy mix in In­done­sia, the world’s top ther­mal coal ex­porter, with con­sump­tion ex­pected to reach 101 mil­lion tons this year.

State elec­tric­ity util­ity PLN, tasked to over­see Pres­i­dent Joko “Jokowi” Wi­dodo’s tar­get to build 35 gi­gawatts (GW) of new power sta­tions in In­done­sia, is un­der pres­sure to im­prove its ef­fi­ciency and re­duce costs.

Jokowi re­cently “ad­vised” that PLN could halve its tar­get to con­trib­ute 5 GW to the pro­gram from more than 10 GW at present, Jo­nan said.

“If PLN thinks their fi­nan­cial po­si­tion in the long term or even in the mid term will not be quite sound, it’s ac­cept­able for them not to con­tinue,” he said. “They can of­fer it to the pri­vate sec­tor.”

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