Greenpeace warns of environmental impact of Indonesia's 35,000 MW project

Greenpeace warns of environmental impact of Indonesia's 35,000 MW project
PHOTO: Reuters

Greenpeace Indonesia climate and energy campaigner Arif Vianto criticised President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's programme to develop 35,000 megawatts of (MW) power plants, 60 per cent of which would use coal as their energy source.

"Even if they use the most sophisticated technology, a coal-fueled power plant with a capacity of 2,000 MW will produce 10.8 million tons of carbon emissions every year," he said on the sidelines of the Buru Baru Festival, an event which aimed to campaign the use of renewable energy among local residents in Baru Beach in Bantul, Yogyakarta, on Saturday.

Arif said coal was one of the energy sources with the largest carbon emissions. He said that if the ambitious 35,000 MW power plant target was achieved by 2019, it would produce a total 1.3 gigatons of carbon emissions by 2030.

"Coal releases carbon emissions which can cause climate change. Its dust is also dangerous to human health," he said.

Citing a study commissioned by Greenpeace and the University of Harvard, Arif said that every year, around 15,600 people died prematurely due to the health impacts of pollution from coal dust.

Another issue of the 35,000 MW electricity project the government must review was that most coal-fueled power plants would be located on Java Island, while current power shortages mostly occurred outside Java, he added.

The 35,00 MW mega project is the keystone policy of President Jokowi and Vice President Jusuf Kalla's administration.

The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has determined that 109 projects would generate a total 36,585 MW. It has said that 74 projects with a capacity of 25,904 MW would be handled by independent power producers. The remaining 35 projects with a capacity of 10,681 MW will be handled by state-owned electricity company PLN.

The total investment needed for the project is predicted to amount to Rp 1.13 quadrillion (US$82.27 billion or S$117 billion), comprising Rp 512 trillion (S$50 billion) for projects handled by PLN and Rp 615 trillion for those handled by the private sector.

Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Rizal Ramli has criticised the 35,000 MW power project, saying that the target is not achievable within five years.

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