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30 Apr 2021

Nithin Coca, Radio Free Asia

Indonesia: Local communities fear environmental and social impacts of Bangko Tengah (SS-8) coal plant; NGO expresses concerns in letter to China Huadian, China Eximbank and Chinese embassy

"Fueled by China, Coal Still Firing in SE Asia Despite Environmental Concerns", 30 April 2021

[...] Chinese-funded projects in Southeast Asia include the 625 megawatt (MW) Unit-8 of the Banten Suralaya power station and the 1200 MW Bangko Tengah SumSel 8 plants in Indonesia; the 1980 MW Vĩnh Tân-3 plant in Vietnam; the 700 MW Botum Sakor power station in Cambodia; and the 668 MW Dinginin power station in the Philippines.

Local communities actively oppose many of these projects because of environmental and social impacts. The Sumsel 8 plant is especially concerning as it is a mine-mouth facility, in which the coal-fired power plant is built near the coal mine.

“When the plant is in operation, then the community nearby will face double impacts,” said Pius Ginting, the Jakarta, Indonesia-based executive director of [Aksi Ekologi dan Emansipasi Rakyat] (AEER), a domestic NGO advocating against Chinese coal projects. “One from the air/water pollution from the power plant, and second is from the mining itself, because the coal mine is in the same area.”

AEER [...] sent a letter in early 2021 expressing these concerns to the main financier, the Export-Import Bank of China, the lead company building the project, China Huadian Corporation, and the Chinese Embassy in Jakarta. AEER has yet to receive a response.

Besides the environmental impacts, Ginting fears that Chinese funding for coal makes it harder for Indonesia to invest in renewables.

“There could be an opportunity for renewable energy to thrive, but these are overcome by the presence of China’s investment in Sumsel 8 and other coal plants,” said Ginting. [...]

Part of the following timelines

Indonesia: Bangko Tengah (SS-8) coal plant raises environmental and social concerns among local communities

China's commitment to phase out overseas coal investment