Fighting for ecological justice

Questioning the Co-firing Policy for Power Plant

The Government plans to mix coal with biomass in the Steam Power Plant (PLTU) combustion process. This policy, known as co-firing, aims to utilise renewable energy. However, the approach needs to be revised.

Zainur Rohman, a Member of Kaoem Telapak, said that reducing carbon emissions is a government mandate. Co-firing is one way to minimise these emission levels. They use biomass from plastic waste, sawdust, and wood pellets.

The man, often called Cak Imin, said that he is concerned about biomass that comes from Timber. “Wood sawdust status shifts from a waste to a raw material. It is necessary to check whether they obtained the material legally and sustainably,” he said.

Data from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) states that the Government has tested the co-firing policy at 26 PLTUs with a 5-10% biomass capacity. Of the 26 PLTUs, 13 have carried out this policy commercially. They predicted that co-firing capacity in Indonesia could reach 18 Gigawatts in 2024.

Zainur Rohman, member of Kaoem Telapak

In a press release, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources mentioned technical problems implementing this co-firing policy. The different characteristics of coal and biomass cause problems in power plant boilers and feeding equipment problems.

In addition, the issue of biomass supply is a challenge in itself. As reported by, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources predicts that the amount of biomass needed for the co-firing program in the Electricity Supply Business Plan (RUPTL) for 2021 – 2030 will continue to increase. The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources projects that the amount of biomass needed is eleven million tons annually.

Meanwhile, a report from Trend Asia stated that the co-firing policy was a “false energy transition”. The report said that to supply biomass from wood, for example, the Government needs 2.33 million hectares of land or 35 times the Jakarta area, to build Renewable Energy Forests. The provision of this biomass, according to Trend Asia, will increase Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 26.48 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Until 2022, the co-firing policy is only in the trial phase. If the Government implement this policy is implemented, according to Cak Imin, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and the State Electricity Company must respect and comply with Government Regulations related to forestry management, including following the Timber Verification and Legality System (SVLK) scheme that Indonesia has built since 2009 in obtaining its biomass supply. “ESDM should also apply SVLK,” he said.