Jakarta. Greenpeace Indonesia is urging state-run utility company Perusahaan Listrik Negara, or PLN, to cancel its coal-fired power plant projects in Java and Bali since they pose significant risks to the public.
The mega projects are being run to meet President Joko "Jokowi” Widodo's target of producing 35,000 extra megawatts for the country’s power grid to attract more investments.
Greenpeace also noted the projects may pose risks for PLN and its customers — raising electricity prices, producing harmful pollutants such as mercury in spades and forcing the state-owned company to pay for excess electricity.
The projects also contradict the government's austerity recommendations and run counter to its National Mid-Term Development Plan (RPJMN), which promotes energy efficiency and conservation.
"These projects are a mistake. We'll end up with excess [electricity] capacity. PLN and the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry should take responsibility. Why should the public have to pay for it?" Hindun Mulaika, Greenpeace Indonesia's energy and climate campaigner, said in a statement.
Canceling the projects is the only way to prevent excess capacity, she pointed out.
Hindun urges PLN to review its power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the private developers of these coal-fired power plants.
"If we know now that PLN will soon have more electricity than it needs, why not stop them [the power plant projects]?" she said.
Hindun also urges the government to stop demanding PLN to produce the extra 35,000 megawatts for the country's electric grid since the state company has been embroiled in a financial crisis of its own, as revealed by Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati last month.
That time, Sri Mulyani suggested PLN should adjust the number of projects it is managing to its weakening financial state.