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New Energy World magazine logo
New Energy World magazine logo
ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

Coal use hits new high in Indonesia and the Philippines


Coal power station with smoke coming from chimneys Photo: Adobe Stock/kamilpetran
Coal is powering most of the electricity in Indonesia and the Philippines, with solar and wind only generating 0.3% (Indonesia) and 3.2% (Philippines) of total electricity production in 2023

Photo: Adobe Stock/kamilpetran

Coal now generates nearly two-thirds (62%) of electricity in Indonesia and the Philippines, overtaking Poland and China, according to new analysis by Ember.

The new data finds that Indonesia overtook Poland in terms of the share of coal used for electricity generation in 2023, reaching 61.8%, having already overtaken China’s coal share in 2022. The Philippines’ use of coal for electricity rose from 59.1% in 2022 to 61.9% in 2023, overtaking both China and Poland for the first time.  


Those percentages are much higher than in the 10 states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), whose coal usage is less than 50% of electricity generation. Renewables are not keeping up with rising power demand, Ember concludes. Its analysis shows that solar and wind only generated 0.3% and 3.2% of total electricity production in 2023 in Indonesia and the Philippines, respectively, falling behind the ASEAN average of 4.4% and regional leader Vietnam at 13%.  


Even in China and Poland, nations which have historically relied on coal, strong growth in solar and wind power is continuously reducing coal’s share. In China, electricity demand rose by 6.9%, and nearly half of the demand rise was met by solar and wind. Meanwhile, Poland saw a drop in electricity demand by 5%, but wind and solar power surged by 26%, resulting in a sharp decrease in coal generation (–17%), according to the data.  


In Indonesia, electricity demand rose by 5.1% in 2023; two-thirds of which was met by coal (67%), with the remaining third met mostly by gas (31%). As solar and wind growth lags, increasing reliance on coal has made Indonesia the fifth largest coal power generating country in the world, up from eleventh place in 2015.  


As for the Philippines, coal generation grew much higher than the rise in electricity demand (9.7% versus 4.6%). Its absolute coal generation ranks 17th in the world, but it is placed 8th in terms of generation shares.  


Despite the rising coal generation and sluggish renewables growth, Indonesia and the Philippines still have the opportunity to tap into their large solar and wind potential, according to Ember. The Philippines’ current plan, as well as Indonesia’s Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) recommendations in its Comprehensive Investment and Policy Plan, see renewables powering 35% of electricity in the Philippines and 44% in Indonesia by 2030. Notably, the International Energy Agency in its Net Zero Emissions Scenario set the global target of 60% renewable electricity by 2030.


For more information about the energy use and production in the Philippines, Indonesia, Asia and the rest of the world, see the Energy Institute Statistical Review of World Energy.