Building Indonesia’s ‘green’ new capital could see coal use surge (analysis)

Building Indonesia’s ‘green’ new capital could see coal use surge (analysis)

Indonesia’s planned new capital city on the island of Borneo, Nusantara, is being touted by the government as a “green” city. However, its construction may lead to a surge in carbon emissions, putting the country’s climate goal at risk. East Kalimantan province, the site of the new capital, is the coal-mining heartland of Indonesia. Alongside the massive oil palm expansion of the 2000s, coal mining has been booming in Indonesian Borneo in the past 20 years, especially in East Kalimantan and South Kalimantan provinces, where it has become an economic mainstay. The two major cities in East Kalimantan, Samarinda and Balikpapan, which will form a metropolis with Nusantara, are currently home to about 2 million people. The population relies almost solely on coal power for its daily activities. Indonesian authorities often promote Nusantara as a “green” city despite its proximity to coal resources. The alternatives to coal proposed include not only solar and wind energy but also hydropower generated from mega dams located on the Kayan River in the north. The hydropower from Kayan, transmitted through an ultra-high-voltage system over a long distance, may effectively replace coal to meet the demand of the metropolis. While associated with other social and environmental issues, the astounding 9,000 megawatts of power it will produce when fully completed could satisfy the need of more than 30 million Indonesians if the average level of consumption remains as of today, effectively reducing coal power use. Coal mining has been booming in Indonesian Borneo in the past…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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