US secretary sees clean energy tie-ups in Indonesia

May 25, 2010
An Indonesian power-plant worker. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said the United States was keen to develop clean-energy partnerships with Indonesia, a leading energy producer, ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said on Tuesday the United States was keen to develop clean-energy partnerships with Indonesia, a leading energy producer, ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama.

With executives from 10 energy companies in tow, Locke held group meetings on clean energy with officials and business leaders in Jakarta, as well as talks with the government, said the US embassy.

Obama is expected to sign a "strategic partnership" with Indonesia when he visits in June, although the details have not been made known.

"The companies on this trade mission are at the vanguard of a movement to meet the world’s needs," Locke said in a statement.

"As they expand their presence in fast-growing countries like Indonesia they can help solve unprecedented energy and environmental challenges, while creating good-paying jobs for the people of America and Indonesia.

"That’s a win for everyone involved."

Companies represented in the delegation included General Electric, Lockheed Martin Global, Oshkosh Corporation, Peabody Energy and Pratt and Whitney Power Systems.

Indonesia is a top coal exporter, is the world's fourth most populous country with about 240 million people, and has the largest Muslim population, making it a strategic economic and diplomatic partner of the United States in Southeast Asia.

In addition to exporting "dirty" fuels like coal and gas, it is the top exporter of palm oil used in biofuels and is estimated to possess around 40 percent of the world's potential, or around 28,000 megawatts.

"Our meetings with Indonesian officials were productive, providing first-hand knowledge of clean tech opportunities and Indonesia’s business environment," Locke said.

"US companies on our trade mission look forward to pursuing new business opportunities in Indonesia that will benefit the economies of both our countries while creating a more sustainable environment."

Scientists blame the rapid expansion of plantations for the destruction of swathes of pristine rainforest, a process that emits vast amounts of greenhouse gas and destroys the habitats of endangered species like orangutans.

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