One of the initiatives promised by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the forum Belt and Road Initiative is the implementation of the South-South Cooperation Initiative Belt and Road on Climate Change. The implementation of this initiative in the form of an the form of developing renewable energy and low-emission greenhouse programs is highly expected and urgent. In the second week of May 2019, which is two weeks after the Belt and Road Forum, a sensor at the Hawaii observatory that measured the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) recorded for the first time in 3 million years the concentration of C02 reached 415.26 ppm. The safe limit for the earth’s climate is 300 ppm. Coal combustion is one source of C02 emissions.
Among the 23 collaborative projects that Indonesia-China has agreed in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Forum, there are three coal-fired power plant (PLTU) projects, namely the Sulbagut-1 and Sulut-3 (cooperation between the PowerChina International Group and PT. Toba Bara Sejahtera), and a coal-fired power plant 2 x 300 MW (cooperation between Indonesia Lumbung Group Co. and Engineering Department of China National Electric (CNEEC)).
The signing of the development of coal-based projects will make it difficult for Indonesia to reduce 29 percent greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
Toba Bara Sejahtera is in the process of obtaining funding from PT. Sarana Multi Infrastruktur (SMI) for the construction of the PLTU Sulut-3. PT. Sarana Multi Infrastruktur (SMI) is an accredited institution to obtain climate change mitigation funding from the Green Climate Fund, a funding agency for reducing global warming under the UN emissions. During a 25-year operating period, this coal-fired power plant is expected to release 22.5 million CO2.
The third project, namely the PLTU 2 x 300 MW in cooperation between CNEEC and Indonesia Lumbung Group Co is likely to be built in Jambi Province. The construction of coal-fired power plants in Jambi Province is not the right choice. Jambi Province has renewable energy sources, including water. According to the Electricity Supply Business Plan (RUPLT) 2019-2028, the potential of hydroelectric power plants in Jambi Province is 373 MW, while the potential for large-scale hydropower reaches 611.7 MW. Besides the impact of global warming, the number of coal transportation traffic accidents is quite large in Jambi Province.
The PLTU construction project in Indonesia involving PowerChina and CNEEC has caused problems. PowerChina is the majority shareholder (70%) of the PLTU Bengkulu doing injustice for compensation for growing crops when land acquisition. Meanwhile, CNEEC as a contractor for PLTU Indramayu, PLTU Tanjung Awar-awar, PLTU Sumsel-5 and PLTU Banjarsari is also free from the problem.
In 2011, the PLTU Indramayu I with a capacity of 3 x 330 MW officially operated, residents complained about the impact of air pollution.
Considering the urgency to reduce the sources of global warming, the Chinese and Indonesian governments should cancel the coal-fired power plant construction project agreed upon in the Belt and Road Initiative Forum. ***