Indonesia’s Biggest Utility Company PLN Pledges to Stop New Coal Plants from 2023, Embracing Solar Power

May 2021

Indonesia’s biggest utility company PLN has announced that it plans to stop building new coal-fired plants after 2023, with additional electrical capacity to be generated only from renewable sources, such as solar power. Indonesia is estimated to have the potential solar energy of up to 500 GW, seven times larger than the total installed electricity capacity in the country, which is currently around 65 GW.

Coal now makes up almost 40% of Indonesia’s energy mix. However, both public and private finance has been increasingly moving away from coal power. According to Zulkifli Zaini, CEO of state-owned electricity utility PLN, there will be no more new thermal plants after an ongoing program to add 35,000 MW to the national grid — powered mostly by coal — is completed in 2023. Instead, the company will expedite solar power projects to meet its carbon-neutral goals.

According to PLN’s Electricity Business Plan 2017–2026 (often known as the RUPTL), the company plans to implement a program of “solar power plants for 1,000 islands/locations”. This program aims to develop solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants in remote islands and other locations where there are transmission line expansion issues or access issues.

In another effort to embrace renewable energy, the Indonesian government also plans to halt imports of fossil fuels and liquified petroleum gas (LPG) by 2030. The move demonstrates Indonesia’s commitment to implementing the Paris Agreement, a landmark international treaty adopted in 2015.

(Sources: Climate Home News; The Jakarta Post)

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