A proposed bill being debated in Indonesia’s parliament would seek to classify some coal-based products as “new energy” – but the move has been slammed by environmental groups.
The draft bill, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, proposes classifying coal bed methane, coal liquefaction and coal gasification as sources of “new energy” alongside nuclear and hydrogen power.
Parliament is set to vote on it next week before sending it to government for further discussion.
Indonesia has signed up to a global pledge to phase out use of coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, which is seen as key to cutting emissions and keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. It has also pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2060.
Transition to Cleaner Energy
The Southeast Asian country is the world’s biggest thermal coal exporter and the industry is a major source of government revenue. Coal also powers roughly 60% of its electricity output, far greater than the 12% powered by renewables.
The draft bill, which was verified by a member of parliament’s energy committee, lists hydro, wind, solar, and geothermal as renewable energy sources, all of which would receive incentives for their development.
It also calls for an increase in mandatory domestic sales for coal to 30%, from 25% currently, and the removal of all diesel power plants by 2024.
“Any support for ‘new energy’ will only prolong the transition [to cleaner energy],” Mahawira Dillon, an energy policy researcher at clean energy think tank CERAH, said.
Another energy research group, the Institute for Essential Services Reform, said the draft bill shows parliament is accommodating the interests of the fossil fuel industry.
CERAH also called for nuclear energy to be removed from the bill due to safety risks and high development costs.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell