Indonesia: Feasibility study into building coal-to-methanol gasification plant sparks concern as China seen as reneging on coal promise
"The Problem With China’s Promise To Stop Funding New Coal Power Plants Abroad", 15 December 2021
- China has promised to stop funding new coal-fired power plants abroad, but appears intent on investing in other coal projects.
- A state-owned Chinese company announced in October that it would build a $560 million gasification plant in Indonesia’s Aceh province, to turn coal into methanol.
- Energy experts warn that this pivot away from coal-fired power plants to gasification “may be a loophole in a commitment to ending coal financing.”
- At the same time, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has promised billions of dollars of support for gasification while also seeking foreign investment to expand the industry.
When China announced, in late September, that it would stop financing the construction of new coal plants overseas, Indonesia looked to be one of the most impacted countries. The Southeast Asian nation is one of the world’s most prolific builders of coal-fired power plants, often with Chinese support.
Three months later, however, not one of the eight Chinese-funded coal plant projects in the permitting or planning phase in Indonesia has been shelved. Instead, the only major coal-related news was in October, when Indonesia’s Powerindo Cipta Energy and state-owned China National Chemical Engineering Corporation announced they would conduct a feasibility study into building a $560 million coal-to-methanol gasification plant in Meulaboh, a city in Indonesia’s Aceh province. [...]