April 13, 2009

PLN demand for coal to soar next year as power output rises

PLN demand for coal to soar next year as power output rises

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Wed, 03/25/2009 1:09 PM | Business

State electricity company PT PLN will need more coal next year as it seeks to generate more power through new plants operated by its subsidiary PT Indonesia Power, an official said Tuesday.

Indonesia Power president director Tony Agung said the increase - from 13 million tons of coal this year to 19 million next year - was due to the running of the three newly constructed geothermal power plants located at Labuan, Pelabuhan Ratu, and Suralaya, all in West Java, as part of PLN's 10,000-megawatt (MW) power program to meet the electricity demand in Java and Bali.

Tony said the company would continue boosting the utilization of the alternative energy.

"It needs about 3 million tons of coal for every 1,000 MW of additional power capacity," he said on the sidelines of a seminar on national energy policy.

Besides the three plants, Indonesia Power, one of the largest electricity power generating companies in the country, operates five other power plants - at Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, at Kamojang and Saguling in West Java, Mrica and Semarang in Central Java, Perak in East Java, and Bali, with a total capacity of 8,888 MW.

Data from the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry shows Indonesia has total reserves of coal of 104.7 million tons.

The country's geothermal capacity is 27,510 MW, or about 40 percent of the world's geothermal capacity.

However, the great potential is nowhere near fully utilized domestically, while 70 percent of the country's coal is earmarked for export.

Young Entrepreneurs' Association (Hipmi) chairman Eric Aksa urged the government to speed up coal production for domestic use, saying it would help the private sector survive during the global economic crisis, because coal had "competitive advantages".

"The authorities should change their paradigm concerning the use of coal as a revenue booster. We should now treat it as a factor to boost the national economy," he said.

He added countries like China and India had taken the approach of prioritizing domestic demand.


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