TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The government is urged to stop the construction of waste-to-energy plants (PLTSa). The Indonesia Center for Environmental Law has called for Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry to review waste to energy projects in seven cities across the country. It reasoned that the Supreme Court (MA) has ruled that waste incineration is against the laws.
“The Supreme Court ruling clearly says that thermal technology is forbidden because it contravenes the laws. The government’s move is dangerous,” the center’s executive director Henri Subagio said yesterday.
The court ruled in January that the use of thermal technology is against the laws as it poses threats to the environment and health. The court reasoned that waste incineration residues produce hazardous materials such as dioxins, furans, mercury, lead and cadmium. Not to mention that the plants will be built in high-density areas.
The Supreme Court ruled that the government shall adopt green waste management. “The Law on Waste Management System obliges the government and local administration to facilitate the adoption of eco-friendly technology,” the court ruling says.
Henri said that the government ought to abide by the ruling to evaluate its sustainable waste management policy. The government’s insistence on proceeding with the projects would create legal uncertainty for plant developers.
The government has planned to build waste to energy plants in Jakarta, Tangerang, Bandung, Surakarta, Surabaya, Makassar and Semarang. It has recently added Bali to the list. It is expected that the power plants would process 1,000 tons of waste on a daily basis.
State-owned power company PT PLN has agreed to buy electricity generated from the plants at US 18.77 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for high and medium voltage. As for low voltage, the price is set at US 22.43 cent. Once the tender is completed, the company will sign a 20-year power purchase agreement. The prices are higher than those of other clean energy sources.
The Energy Ministry’s new renewable and energy conservation director-general Rida Mualyana has confirmed that the power generation project will continue. He said that the legal basis is still being discussed by the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs through revised Presidential Regulation No. 18/2016 on Acceleration of PLTSa Establishment.
Rida said that the priority in the waste to energy projects is to reduce waste volume. He said that the program is part of Indonesia’s commitment to tackling climate change as agreed at the COP21 conference in Paris in 2015.