News analysis

Indonesia's upcoming coal plant tests its climate change pledge

Conservationists say it will add to air pollution while analysts say the govt should be financing renewable energy - but the fuel is cheap and abundant in the nation

A farmer working the land near the power plant site. Conservationists say the 2,000MW coal-fired plant will add to pollution affecting nearby villages. The construction site of the Jawa 9 and 10 power plant in Banten province, west of Jakarta. A cons
The construction site of the Jawa 9 and 10 power plant in Banten province, west of Jakarta. A conservative estimate puts the plant's carbon dioxide emissions at 5.4 million tonnes a year.PHOTO: MELVINAS PRIANANDA/MARKET FORCES
A farmer working the land near the power plant site. Conservationists say the 2,000MW coal-fired plant will add to pollution affecting nearby villages. The construction site of the Jawa 9 and 10 power plant in Banten province, west of Jakarta. A cons
A farmer working the land near the power plant site. Conservationists say the 2,000MW coal-fired plant will add to pollution affecting nearby villages. PHOTO: MELVINAS PRIANANDA/MARKET FORCES

A consortium led by Indonesia's state electricity firm Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) is pushing ahead with construction of a controversial coal-fired power plant near Jakarta that analysts say is not needed, will be underused and will likely prove a heavy financial burden for the national government.

The US$3.7 billion (S$4.9 billion) Jawa 9 and 10 complex also challenges the government's commitment to fight climate change, because it will lock in additional coal use and add millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2021, with the headline 'Indonesia's upcoming coal plant tests its climate change pledge '. Subscribe