Indonesia proposes Batang regency location for Tesla Gigafactory, says green energy readily available for it


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Indonesia’s discussions with Tesla to build an assembly plant in the archipelago have been going on for a good while. In March, it was reported that talks had fallen through, only to restart in April, culminating in a meeting in May between Indonesian president Joko Widodo and Tesla CEO Elon Musk at SpaceX’s facility in Texas, where Musk said he would visit the country in November this year.

Last month, Bahlil Lahadalia, the country’s minister of investment and head of the Indonesian investment coordinating board was reported to have said that Tesla had agreed to build a battery and EV factory at an industrial complex in the Central Java province, although no details were provided.

The talk hasn’t abated, and the wooing continues with the promise of green energy. Last week, Luhut Pandjaitan, the country’s coordinating maritime affairs and investment minister, said the government has proposed to Tesla for it to build an EV assembly plant with an annual capacity of 500,000 units near Batang regency in Central Java.

He said the location was suitable because it is near geothermal power sources that would be able to provide green energy to the proposed Gigafactory, the Jakarta Post reports.

State-owned Geo Dipa Energi runs geothermal power facilities in the region, and with development estimates that it will be able to supply 400 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity. During a meeting with Indonesian lawmakers, Luhut said that this could be channeled to the proposed Tesla factory.

Apart from Batang, Luhut said the carmaker had shown interest in the North Kalimantan Green Industrial Park, which has been under construction since December last year. The industrial park is set to get power from hydropower and solar power plants that will be developed near the site.

Luhut also told lawmakers that Tesla had shown interest in developing the semiconductor industry in Indonesia, but did not divulge details about a possible Tesla investment or on the status of negotiations, saying the government had signed a confidentiality agreement with the company.

However, he stated that the government was intent on having Tesla build its cars in the country. “While Thailand has just become an agent [of Tesla EV cars], we do not want the same. We want to become a producer,” he said.

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