Despite China’s Commitment to Scrapping Coal Power Plants, Indonesian Projects Are Possible — BenarNews
According to an analysis released Friday by a Finland-based energy research group, China’s promise last year to end funding for coal-fired projects abroad led to the suspension or cancellation of 15 plants and could potentially put an end to 32 others.
Yet a potential loophole in the interpretation of the pledge means that 18 factories, including some in Indonesia, could continue because they have secured funding and permits or are linked to China. Belt and Road Initiative, according to the study by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA). He said Jakarta considers these projects a priority.
“China’s ‘no new overseas coal’ policy has already had a significant impact on coal-fired power construction,” CREA said in its statement. report released on Earth Day.
“Since September 2021, CREA has found that approximately 12.8 gigawatts (15 plants) of Chinese-backed overseas coal projects have been suspended or canceled, following revised energy policies in host countries and withdrawals from Chinese companies,” he said.
Included are projects planned for Indonesia, Vietnam, Turkey, Kenya, Iran, Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe, according to the study.
In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that Beijing would not build new coal-fired power projects overseas as part of efforts to combat climate change.
However, 18 projects, which represent 19.2 gigawatts, “remain in a gray area of commitment and could still move forward,” CREA said.
Of that amount, 11.2 gigawatts “are projects that have secured funding and necessary permits but have not yet started construction,” the report said.
“An additional 8 gigawatts are proposed for captive coal projects related to the BRI nickel and steel complexes in Indonesia and considered a government priority.”
According to the report, two new Chinese-backed power plants are set to open in Indonesia due to a potential loophole that allows construction and equipment contracts on existing BRI projects to be interpreted as exemptions.
On Feb. 14, Tianjin Electric Power Construction Co. signed an agreement to build a power plant to support the nickel ore smelter on Obi Island in North Maluku province, CREA said.
A second project involves the expansion of the existing steam plant providing power for steel and nickel processing in the Morowali Industrial Park in Central Sulawesi province.
Across Indonesia, a total of six coal projects are likely to go ahead because the government sees them as “the power supply for businesses and personal interests”, he said. .
On Friday, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources officials did not immediately respond to BenarNews’ requests for comment.
In January 2020, a spokesperson for PT PLN, the state-owned power utility, said power investors were interested in coal-fired power plants because of lower costs and better returns on investment. .
“We are only talking about the goal of flourishing electricity. In Java, the number of electricity users is huge and we want to avoid another electricity deficit,” PLN spokesman Dwi Suryo Abdullah told BenarNews at the time.
Greenpeace supports the report
Leonard Simanjuntak, director of Greenpeace in Indonesia, welcomed CREA’s findings.
“We appreciate the development because as the largest coal funder, China’s decision last year will have a significant impact on the process of energy transition to renewables globally,” said Leonard at Benar News.
Still, Leonard regrets that some projects must continue.
“Exceptions like Sulawesi and North Maluku will set a bad precedent. We need a truly green Belt and Road initiative, free of coal and other fossil fuels,” Leonard said.
He called on China to persuade Indonesia to use renewable electricity and energy sources for national priority projects.
“This should be a turning point for the Indonesian government, amid criticism that national priority projects being built in many places threaten the environment,” Leonard said.
Indonesia has set a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 29% by 2030. The government has said the energy sector now accounts for almost half of the country’s emissions.
In 2019, Indonesia was the top exporter of coal for power generation, supplying 40% of global markets, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity.
The largest and most populous country in Southeast Asia is the eighth most polluting country in the world with 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions to its credit, according to the World Resources Institute.
Indonesia derives 60% of its energy supply from coal, but aims to switch to renewable sources providing 85% of its energy needs by 2060.