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Indonesia inaugurates Southeast Asia's largest floating solar farm



Indonesia on Thursday inaugurated a $100 million floating solar farm, the largest in Southeast Asia, as the country seeks more opportunities to transition to green, renewable energy.


The Cirata floating solar farm, which is expected to generate enough electricity to power 50,000 households, is built on a 200-hectare (500-acre) reservoir in West Java, about 130 kilometres (80 miles) from the capital, Jakarta.


"Today is a historical day, because our big dream to build a renewable energy plant on a big scale is finally achieved," President Joko Widodo said in a speech to mark the occasion.


"We managed to build the largest floating solar farm in Southeast Asia, and the third biggest in the world," he said.


The project, a collaboration between Indonesia's national electricity company Perusahaan Listrik Negara and the Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company Masdar, took three years to complete and cost roughly $100 million.


The solar farm, funded by Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered, consists of 340,000 panels.


The Indonesian government has said it will attempt to reach net-zero emissions by 2060.


But solar and wind power each account for less than one percent of Indonesia's power mix, as Southeast Asia's largest economy still relies heavily on fossil fuels to generate electricity.


The country has pledged to stop building new coal-fired power plants, but it has proceeded with the construction of those that were already planned despite an outcry from activists.


Indonesia is also trying to position itself as a key player in the electric vehicle market as the world's largest producer of nickel -- a key component of lithiom-ion batteries -- but some industrial parks that host energy-guzzling nickel smelters are powered by coal.