As financial close approaches for a 2,000 MW coal-fired power station in Java

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  • 26 Feb 2019 12:00 AM
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NGOs Urge Dbs Bank: Pull Out of ‘risky’ Indonesian Coal Power Deal

A coalition of non-government organisations (NGOs) has called on Southeast Asia’s largest financial services group, DBS Bank, to back out of a 2,000-megawatt coal-fired power project in Indonesia that is reaching financial close. The Banten Suralaya complex in Java, located less than 100km from the capital Jakarta, is being sponsored by Indonesia’s state utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), with DBS acting as advisor and the Export Import Bank of Korea among the lenders. The civic society groups, which include Greenpeace, Market Forces, Global Witness and Indonesian NGO Walhi, claim the US$3 billion project will lead to overcapacity issues, worsen air pollution in an already polluted area, and poses financial risk for stakeholders. In a letter to DBS chief executive Piyush Gupta, the NGOs pointed out that funding the coal plant contradicts the bank’s stated reason for continuing to fund coal—to bring power to the 65 million people in Southeast Asia who lack electricity access—since the new complex is being built to supply a grid that has some of the highest rates of electrification in Indonesia, at 99.99 per cent. Gupta said a year ago that DBS would stop lending to “dirty” coal projects by the end of 2018. DBS published a climate policy—the first from an Asian bank—in February 2018 that excluded coal projects, but only those in developed countries where the company has a limited presence. Singapore-headquartered DBS is the only Southeast Asian bank to get a mention in IEEFA’s list of divesting banks, although today’s pressure from NGOs highlights the bank’s continued investment in fossil fuels.

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