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The Regulations of Emissions Quality Standards in Thermal Power Plants

Jakarta’s sky consistently finds itself shrouded in a blanket of pollution, followed by hundreds of citizens using their smartphones to monitor the air quality. On a car free day, many pose the question: is today’s pollution safe enough for me to exercise outside? Although the city’s steep pollution comes as no surprise to many inhibitors, the citizens of Jakarta are beginning to take serious actions against the government to demand better air quality.

In light of the topic of air quality standards, Schinder Law Firm highlights a new regulatory policy: the Minister of Environment and Forestry (“MoEF”) had issued Regulation No. P.15/MENLHK/SETJEN/KUM.1/4/2019 on Emissions Quality Standards for Thermal Power Plants (the “Regulation”).

The Regulation
Thermal power plants are power stations used to generate electricity through the use of various types of fuel – this includes solid, liquid, and gas fuels or any mixtures thereof, as well as geothermal steam. The output of the electricity is then used to power sustain the operations of our daily lives, whether this may be lighting, heating, or the use of electronics.

  1. Steam Power Plants (“PLTU”);
  2. Gas Power Plants (“PLTG”);
  3. Combined Cycle Power Plants (“PLTGU”);
  4. Diesel Power Plants (“PLTD”);
  5. Gas Engine Power Plants (“PLTMG”);
  6. Geothermal Power Plants (“PLTP”);
  7. Biomass Power Plants (“PLTBm”);
  8. Waste-Based Power Plants (“PLTSa”); and
  9. Mixed-fuel power plants.

Under the Regulation, all parties in charge (“PIC”) of business and/or activities related to thermal power plants must regulate the EQS generated from both the production process and production-supporting machines. The standards set by the maximum threshold under the Appendices to Regulation 15/2019 specifically address the different types of emissions, including:

  1. Sulfur dioxide (SO2);
  2. Nitrogen oxide (NOx);
  3. Particulate matter (PM);
  4. Mercury (Hg);
  5. Carbon monoxide (CO);
  6. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) (for PLTP specifically);
  7. Ammonia (NH3) (for PLTP specifically);
  8. Hydrogen chloride (HCl);
  9. Chlorine gas (CL2);
  10. Hydrogen fluoride (HF); and so forth.

Mandatory Monitoring
In order to ensure compliance with the Regulation,the PIC are required to monitor all sources of emissions, and ensure that the emissions are below the maximum threshold.

Other Obligations
The responsibilities of the PIC does not end with the mandatory monitoring, but also requires the management of:

  1. Data and information collection relating to all emissions monitoring activities;
  2. Fugitive emissions;
  3. Facilities for chimneys that release emissions (including elevators); and
  4. Air-pollution emergencies.

NGO Response

In response to the newly enacted Regulation, Greenpeace Indonesia and BaliFokus hosted a media discussion to focus on the implications of coal based steam power plants. The discussion emphasized hazardous pollutants that endanger human health, especially for residents who live around the power plant, and embraced the possibility that these pollutants travel hundreds of kilometers by air to the detriment of many communities.

To combat these pollutants, Greenpeace’s Chief of Climate and Energy Campaign had applauded EQS set in the Regulation: the EQS are three to fifteen times lower that other countries such as China, Japan and South Korea, but to drive consistency across Indonesia, Greenpeace vigorously champions the government tightening EQS for both new and old power plants.

The media discussion concluded by urging the government to supervise the implementation of the Regulation and publicize the emission data from each power plant to keep the PIC accountable.

We hope that this article has shed a new light on the Regulation. If you have any legal questions or issues related to the environmental or energy sector, Schinder law firm is well-experienced to advise and represent corporations, non-profit organizations, and communities in the matter.

1 Hukumonline, “ Govt. Finally Determines Emissions Quality Standards for the Operation of Thermal Power Plants “11th June 2019.
2 www.greenpeace.org, “Revisi Baku Mutu Emisi Pembangkit Termal yang baru masih lemah”, dated 15 May 2019.

About the author:


BUDHIBudhi Satya Makmur

A qualified Indonesian advocate. Budhi specialises in litigation, arbitration and other contentious matters. Budhi has extensive experience in representing numerous domestic and multi-national companies before the Indonesian National Board of Arbitration (BANI) and the Indonesian courts.

Schinder Consultant London Ltd.


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