Observers: Shutting down coal-powered plants is not enough, the govt. needs strategic solutions

Jakarta – Public policy observer Agus Pambagyo believes that stopping four coal-fired power plants (PLTU) is ineffective in reducing air pollution. According to him, the transport sector, which, according to many studies, contributes up to 44% of pollution in Jakarta, needs to be taken seriously.

SOE Minister Erick Thohir said that the Suralaya 1, 2, 3, and 4 coal-fired power plants have been shut down as one of the efforts to overcome the air pollution problem in DKI Jakarta and its surroundings. CNBC Indonesia reported that PLN reduced the operation of the Suralaya PLTU by four units or 1,600 Megawatts (MW) since 28 August.

However, according to Thohir, the power plants shut down have not significantly reduced the harmful air pollution.

Air quality, observed through the mobile application IQAir, improved on the afternoon of 4 September or when the government implemented work-from-home (WFH) and traffic engineering. Pambagyo said this proves the effect of the policy has a positive impact and asked the government for the right strategic solution.

Referring to data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF), power plants that use coal as fuel are one of the most significant contributors to air pollution in Jakarta, contributing around 31% of air pollution after the transport sector, which contributes as much as 44%.

Thohir said there needs to be an agreement to replace the electricity supply, especially with renewable energy sources, with a base load system like the power plant, when the power plant in Java is switched off. One of the proposed solutions is to utilise geothermal plants.

To support replacing energy sources, the government encourages PT Pertamina (Persero) to acquire geothermal assets owned by PT PLN (Persero) and the Ministry of Finance, particularly PT Geo Dipa Energi. In addition, Mr Erick has sent a letter to Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Arifin Tasrif and President Joko Widodo to transfer power assets in Papua to PLN. (Hartatik)

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