Construction of Greater Jakarta’s waste-to-energy plants underway

11 December 2019

Waste management problems have long plagued Greater Jakarta, which largely relies on the Bantar Gebang landfill in Bekasi, West Java, as its final dumpsite.

Among the several strategies the government has come up with to deal with the problem is the development of waste-to-energy (WTE) technology for the capital and three satellite cities — Tangerang and South Tangerang in Banten and Bekasi in West Java.

The four are among 12 cities and regencies prioritized under Presidential Regulation (Perpres) No. 35/2018 on the acceleration of construction of thermal generation facilities for converting waste into electricity with environmentally sound technology.

The mining and energy infrastructure deputy assistant of the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investments Minister, Yohannes Yudi Prabangkara, said the 12 cities voluntarily registered for the project because of the severe waste problems in their areas.

“But if the feasibility study shows that the [WTE] technology is not feasible for an area that is applying, [the administration] does not proceed,” he told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

The Jakarta administration has planned to develop four WTE plants, called intermediate treatment facilities (ITF), to anticipate the Bantar Gebang landfill surpassing its capacity by 2021.

A city-owned developer, PT Jakarta Propertindo, is still finalizing the paperwork for the first ITF in Sunter, North Jakarta, despite Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan having held the official groundbreaking ceremony for the project in December last year.

As in Jakarta, the Tangerang administration assigned its city-owned developer, PT Nusantara Global (TNG), to handle a similar project.

Tangerang Environment Agency head Dedi Suhada said the Rp 2.1 trillion (US$149.8 million) facility would be built in Jatiuwung, Tangerang, approximately seven kilometers from the Rawa Kucing landfill.

The smoke stack required for the plant would be about 80 meters in height, much higher than the maximum 46 meters stipulated for the aviation operational safety area (KKOP) around the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, which is less than 20 kilometers from the project site. The stack could therefore interfere with aircraft visibility during take-off.

The plant is to have the capability of burning 1,500 tons of waste a day and is projected to generate up to 20 megawatts of electricity.

Tenders have been called and construction is expected to commence in March.

“Hopefully, [the project would be completed] in 2022. The Rawa Kucing landfill would then be transformed into green open spaces once the plant is established,” he said.

In South Tangerang, Environment Agency secretary Yepi Suherman said the administration hopes to finalize the business plan for its WTE project by the first quarter of 2020. Tenders would be called afterwards.

The Rp 1.7 trillion project at the Cipeucang landfill is expected to generate from 10 to 15 MW of power using 1,000 tons of waste.

“In 2020, [the Cipeucang landfill] is to be closed because of overload. The waste will be transferred to the Nambo landfill in Bogor, West Java,” he told the Post on Thursday. “[The incinerator] is expected to commence operations by 2022.”

South Tangerang generates about 980 tons of waste daily. About 300 tons of it is dumped in the Cipeucang landfill, while the remaining is distributed between Bantar Gebang and Rawa Kucing.

Bekasi already has a small WTE plant in the Sumur Batu landfill, built in cooperation with a private company, PT Nusa Wijaya Abadi (NWA). The plant is designed to incinerate 60 tons of waste daily to generate 1.5 MW electricity, but for the past four years, it has been struggling with necessary commissioning tests.

Bekasi Environment Agency waste treatment division head Kiswatiningsih said the administration was in talks about building a large WTE facility.

“We are currently discussing with the [Office of the Coordinating Maritime and Investment Minister] to undertake a feasibility study,” she told the Post on Thursday.

“We are also in the process of evaluating cooperation [with the NWA], about whether [the original project] should be halted or continued,” she said.

WTE incinerators, which burn garbage to produce electricity, have long been under scrutiny by environmental activists. The government issued Presidential Regulation No. 18/2016 on the acceleration of the development of waste-based power plants. However, this regulation was annulled by the Supreme Court, following protests from civil society organizations that warned about the environmental and health hazards of the toxic fumes released by the plants.   

Despite the Supreme Court’s move, both the central and regional governments are staying the course, insisting the WTE plants offer an environmentally sound technology.

Solid waste expert Enri Damanhuri from the Bandung Institute of Technology emphasized that a WTE plant must apply air pollution control technology to suppress hazardous fumes. However, he also stressed the necessity to make various efforts to deal with waste.

“Waste handling systems for collection and treatment at the municipal level remain few. Efforts involving sorting, waste banks and waste processing facilities have been strongly promoted but might contribute even less than 10 percent,” he told the Post on Sunday.

“We have not yet succeeded in forcing waste producers to voluntarily reduce their waste, but waste keeps being produced and accumulated,” he said.

Source: The Jakarta Post, 11 December 2019