World's Largest Waste-to-Energy Plant in Shenzhen - Photo by Deezen

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesian government targeting to operate 12 waste-based power plants by 2022 and its expecting produce up to 234 megawatts (MW) of electricity, the energy and mineral resources (EMR) ministry announced on Thursday (07/18).

“As a form of responsibility to provide renewable energy, we continue to be actively involved in efforts to accelerate the development of waste-based power plants. Starting from 2019 to 2022, there will be 12 waste plants that will be ready to operate,” said EMR’ deputy minister Arcandra Tahar in an official statement.

A day before, President Joko Widodo has urged cities across the country to set up waste-based power plants  to tackle the nation’ growing mountain of trash. In April 2018, he has issued a regulation pushing the regions to set up eco-friendly plants to turn waste into electricity.

The world’s fourth-most populous country with 260 million people generates huge amounts of garbage and was as the world’ second-biggest contributor of plastic pollutants in the oceans, according to a 2015 study published in Science journal.

“This is not only about the electricity, but this is also about taking care of the trash,” Tahar said adding the cities including Jakarta, Surabaya, Bekasi, and Solo had pledged to build such plants, which incinerate trash to drive turbines to create power.

Tahar said the 12 waste plants will operate in 12 regions in Indonesia with different operational times. With a capacity of 10 MW, Surabaya will be the first city to operate the biomass-based power plant in 2019. The investment costs disbursed are around US$49.86 million and can absorb waste volumes of 1,500 tons a day.

Still this year, the second biomass-based power plant is located in Bekasi, a satellite city of more than two million people near Jakarta, generated 1,700 tonnes of waste a day. Bekasi has an investment value of $120 million with a power of 9 MW. However, the power plant is still awaiting approval of a feasibility study from PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) so that it is possible to operate in 2021.

While in 2021, there will be three waste plants located in Surakarta (10 MW), Palembang (20 MW) and Denpasar (20 MW). Total investment to generate stun from three locations that manage 2,800 tons a day of waste is $297.82 million.

A year later, in 2022, the operation of the waste-based power plant will be simultaneously in five cities with investment, waste volume and capacity that varies. The five cities include Jakarta with 38 MW with an investment of $345.8 million, Bandung with 29 MW with an investment of $245 million, Makassar, Manado and South Tangerang with each capacity of 20 MW and the same investment of $120 million.

“The difference in costs depends on what the technology is when it starts work, volume, and type of waste,” said the vice minister.

The construction of the waste-based power plant cannot be separated from the issuance of Presidential Regulation Number 35 of 2018 concerning the acceleration of the waste plant development program. The regulation stated that the regional government can assign regional-owned enterprises or private companies to develop the power plants and will get assistance for the Waste Processing Services to the local government for a maximum of Rp500,000 a tonne of waste.

Tahar revealed, this regulation could set the economic value far below $17 cents, which is around $13 cents a kilowatt-hour with additional terms of tapping fees that must be provided by the Regional Government in accordance with their financial capabilities. The rest of the lack of tapping fees will be paid by the Central Government.

This is related to the determination of the formula and the purchase price used for the basis of the electricity purchase agreement between PLN and the developer. Before this regulation existed, the sale and purchase of waste electricity used the feed-in tariff scheme where the tariff was set to $17 – 18 cents a kilowatt-hour. Though the selling price of PLN for certain groups is very far below $17 cents.

The archipelago of more than 17,000 islands has struggled to cope with waste, with much of it going into landfill and often eventually seeping out to pollute rivers and oceans. The country has also become the latest Southeast Asian country to send back trash amid a spike in imports from Western countries after China banned imports, disrupting the global flow of millions of tons of waste each year.

As part of efforts to reduce pollution, Indonesia has set a policy to implement excise of plastic bag worth Rp200 ($0.01) a sheet assuming Rp30 thousand a kilogram (kg), with a count of 150 pieces of plastic a kg. With the previous levies, the price of plastic bags after excise is Rp450 to Rp500 a share. This excise is imposed on plastic bags with a type of petroleum base or plastic with petroleum-based ingredients.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: