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Indonesia’s PLN to stop building coal plants by 2023

Indonesia's state-owned electricity distributor Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) has pledged to stop building coal plants by 2023 after finishing the 35 gigawatts (GW)-worth of projects it had in the pipeline.

According to PLN president director Zuklifli Zaini, the company will “commit to only adding renewable energy” in the future and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Zaini said PLN would have to generate about 1,500 TWh of renewable-generated electricity to achieve zero emissions by 2050. The company seeks to use renewables to raise the output.

PLN also plans to implement co-firing at 52 coal plants across the country by 2025 to reduce emissions. It has so far begun co-firing at 11 coal power plants.

PLN's 35GW plan is part of Indonesian government's power plan launched in 2015 to address electricity shortages. It includes 20GW coal-fired plants, 13GW gas-fired projects and 3.7GW renewables.

John Yeap of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: “In an environment of growing electricity demand, developing nations will have a challenge in meeting all such demand from renewable energy alone, particularly where available land is scarce or wind resource is limited. Indonesia has these challenges, but it is also blessed with tremendous geothermal energy. Harnessing the full potential of this energy source would significantly meet the nation’s growing demands. However, the regulatory framework for geothermal and the cost of geothermal exploration are two challenges that will have to be addressed.”

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