"Altogether the company will have 10 units. Currently, the company already has seven units in operation," Head of Plantation of Asian Agri for North Sumatra and Riau Omri Samosir said in Asahan, on Thursday.
The company has a target to increase the number of its bio-gas triggered power plants to 20 units in 2020, Omri said when welcoming Deputy Governor of North Sumatra coming to visit PLTBg? of Pabrik Gunung Melayu Satu (PGMS) of PT Saudara Sejati Luhur, owned by Asian Agri in Asahan in the province.
Omri said the plan to build more units of PLTBg is part of Asian Agri`s contribution to the government in reducing green house gas emissions.
"Though there is commercial element in the plan, development of units of PLTBg instead of other types of power plant by Asian Agri is more preferable to protect the environment," he said.
Omri Samosir said PLTBg constitutes the result of utilization of liquid waste of palm oil processing factories.
"Environmental preservation is important especially with the negative issues against palm oil abroad," he said.
The use of PLTBg?will reduce the risk of releasing methane gas to the air which is one of the causes of global warming.
"Methane gas is more potential than carbon dioxide (CO2), therefore, release of megas has to be reduced or prevented," he said.
He said power from some of the PLTBgs of the company has been sold to the state electricity company PT PLN, but most of the power production has been used by the company itself.
Asian Agri has contributed environmentally friendly energy to meet energy requirement in North Sumatra, he added.
The seven units of PLTBg already operational include two units in North Sumatra (Asahan and Negeri Lama Labuhanbatu), two units in Jai and three units in Riau .
The three units under construction and soon to be operational are all in North Sumatra -- two units in Gunung Melayu, Asahan, Aek Nabara and one in Tanjung Selamat,Labuhanbatu.
? He said the investment for a unit of PLTBg is US$6 million.
"The company has strong commitment to contributing to the program of preserving healthy environment," he said.
Technical Controller of Mill for Asahan Asian Agri, Budi Darmawansyach, said PLTg using liquid waste of a palm oil processing plant with a processing capacity of 60 tons of fresh fruit bunches of oil palm could generate up to 2.2 megawatts of electricity.
"Cooperation with PLN would continue to be increased," Budi said.
Deputy Governor of North Sumatra H Musa Rajekshah said the North Sumatra administration hopes that all palm oil processing factories in the province will build their own PLTBg .
? "PLTBgs are important as they could reduce greenhouse gas emission especially to protect the future generation," Musa Rajekshah said, adding PLTBg operation would help the government provide electricity for the public.
Reporting by Evalisa Siregar, A Saragih
Editing by Suharto