Indonesian state coal miner plans solar power projects

JAKARTA, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Indonesian coal miner PT Bukit Asam plans to build three solar power projects on former mine sites as part of its expansion into renewable energy, the company’s chief executive said on Wednesday.

State-controlled Bukit Asam has set aside land in West Sumatra, South Sumatra and East Kalimantan provinces and at each location the company plans to develop solar plants of up to 200 megawatts, chief executive Suryo Eko Hadianto told reporters.

Indonesia, the world’s biggest thermal coal exporter, is aiming to reach a net zero emission by 2060 or sooner, a senior minister said, a target that is expected to mean shifting away from coal power.

“At the moment, we are in discussion with Perusahaan Listrik Negara (state power company) for these solar power plants to be independent power producers for the utility,” Suryo told a virtual media briefing.

While he did not disclose details on the investment size, Suryo said he was not concerned about securing financing for the projects.

“Funding for renewable power is very open right now in the global financial market, so we don’t think there will be any problem,” Suryo said.

As of last year, Bukit Asam had at its disposal more than 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) of former mining land where it could build solar plants, he said. (Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy Editing by Ed Davies)