Indonesia’s PLN increases biomass co-firing uptake

Indonesian state-owned utility PLN has increased its biomass consumption to 306,000t, reaching 28pc of the country’s biomass utilisation target for 2023, according to the Indonesian energy ministry (ESDM) on 22 July.

PLN’s biomass consumption increased by 86,000t from 220,000t in January-March, in line with the government’s push towards new and renewable energy to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060.

Indonesia’s biomass co-firing programme — which was announced in 2020 — aims to have at least 52 of the country’s coal-fired plants using a mix of biomass and coal for its fuel needs by 2025. The program is now currently implemented in 37 coal-fired power plants, marking an increase from the previous year’s 36 plants. Indonesia’s new and renewable energy capacity has reached 12.7GW so far this year, the ESDM said, with bio-generated power plants accounting for 3,118.3MW of total capacity.

Biomass can be obtained from a variety of raw materials, including forests, plantations, and agricultural waste. A government-commissioned study found that a potential of 991,000t of forest waste, 24mn t of sawdust, 789,000t of wood chips, and 12.8mn t of palm kernel shells (PKS) could be harnessed in the country, according to the ESDM.

Indonesia is the world’s largest PKS exporter. The country shipped 4.62mn t in 2022, up from around 4.2mn t a year earlier. It shipped 2.06mn t from January-May, up from 1.69mn t during the same period last year. PKS demand is growing in Japan as new biomass power plants start commissioning this year. But PKS procurement is getting harder with domestic and European demand on the rise, Indonesia-based PKS suppliers said.

Argus last assessed Indonesian palm kernel shells (PKS) at $131.50/t fob east coast Sumatra on 19 July, down by 64¢/t on the week.