Accelerated coal-powered plants retirement will reduce health costs by USD100bn

Principal Analyst of the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), Lauri Myllyvirta, presents the results of a study on the health and economic benefits of addressing air pollution sources in a webinar entitled ‘Health Benefits of Just Energy Transition and Coal Phase-out in Indonesia’ released on Tuesday (18/7). (Photo: Hartatik)

Jakarta – Cancelling new coal-fired power plant projects and phasing out coal-fired power plants by 2040 could reduce health costs by up to USD 100 billion. It could also prevent 180,000 deaths from air pollution, according to a study by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) and the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) titled ‘Health Benefits of Just Energy Transition and Coal Phase-out in Indonesia’.

CREA Principal Analyst Lauri Myllyvirta revealed that Indonesia relies on coal for 62.5% of its electricity generation. This reliance significantly impacts air quality and public health, and has contributed significantly to the growth of greenhouse gas emissions over the past decade.

CREA and IESR published a study to assess the current air quality and health impacts, as well as the external economic costs associated with coal power generation in Indonesia. The study also covers the impacts of different policy pathways into the future and presents the first health-based phase-out pathway designed to maximise the public health benefits of coal plant phase-out. CREA has developed a comprehensive health impact assessment (HIA) that outlines the implications of Indonesia’s decision on its coal power plant.

The study modelled a pathway where all power plants expected to operate after 2035 must install efficient emission control devices by 2030. Under this pathway, 8,300 annual air pollution-related deaths could be avoided by 2035 under the current policy scenario.

Air pollutant emissions from coal power plants increased by 110% in Indonesia over the past decade. Current policies will increase Indonesia’s coal capacity from 45 Giga Watts (GW) to 63 GW before peaking in 2028. This will result in air pollution deaths from coal power rising to 16,600 per year.

According to Myllyvirta, the share of co-firing rising to a minimum of 20 per cent in all PLN power plants would only reduce air pollutant emissions from Indonesian coal plants by 1.5-2.4 per cent depending on the pollutant. (Hartatik)

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