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State power firm consumed 1 million metric tons of biomass last year in effort to reduce coal usage: 'This technology offers plenty of benefits'

"Our responsibility is not limited to providing clean energy."

"Our responsibility is not limited to providing clean energy."

Photo Credit: iStock

In an exciting move toward cleaner energy, Indonesia's state-owned power company, Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), consumed a whopping 1 million metric tons (1.1 million tons) of biomass to generate electricity in 2023. This represents a remarkable 71% increase from the previous year, according to Reuters.

PLN used this renewable fuel source on 43 coal-fueled power plants last year, per the outlet. By 2025, the company aims to implement biomass co-firing at 52 coal power facilities.

Biomass is an organic matter derived from living or recently living organisms. It can be used as a renewable source of energy. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, biomass includes materials such as wood, agricultural crops, animal waste, and other organic matter that can be burned or converted into biofuels to generate electricity, heat, or power vehicles.

In PLN's case, those materials are agricultural, plantation, and forestry residue such as sawdust, rice husks, corn cobs, sugar cane, empty palm fruit pellets, palm shells, candlenut shells, and wood chips, according to Argus Media.

This shift toward biomass is part of Indonesia's broader efforts to reduce its reliance on coal, which currently powers over half of its electricity needs, per Reuters. And the impact is already being felt — PLN estimates that using biomass in 2023 will cut carbon pollution by 1.05 million tons, as Antara News reported.

But the benefits go beyond just reducing atmospheric pollution. As more power plants adopt biomass co-firing, it could help reduce energy costs for everyday Indonesians. Biomass is often cheaper than coal, so increasing its use may lead to savings on electricity bills.

At the same time, the biomass industry can generate new economic opportunities and jobs in the rural communities that source these renewable materials. This is a great example of how clean energy solutions can support people's well-being and environmental progress.

"Co-firing technology is a breakthrough in the country's energy transition efforts, as this technology offers plenty of benefits," said PLN President Director Darmawan Prasodjo, per Reccessary. "In addition to reducing emissions, this technology will help us break free from reliance on fossil-based energy.

"As a state-run enterprise, our responsibility is not limited to offering clean energy. We have been innovating to cover various aspects, support people's economy, preserve forest areas, rehabilitate barren lands, and escape the reliance on fossil-based fuel."

With PLN leading the charge, Indonesia is demonstrating how conventional energy sources like coal can be strategically replaced with cleaner, cheaper alternatives. Here's to hoping more countries follow their lead.

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