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China Power Investment Corp. to invest 17 bln USD in power projects in Indonesia

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JAKARTA, May 27 (Xinhua) -- China Power Investment Corp., one of China's largest state-owned firms, has committed to investing 17 billion U.S. dollars in hydropower plant projects in North Kalimantan of Indonesia, an Indonesian minister said here on Monday.

Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik made the statement after meeting with Vice President of the firm Xia Zhong at his office.

The Chinese firm hoped to start the projects next year, at least the ground breaking, according to Wacik.

The minister said that the hydropower station with a designed capacity of 7,000 megawatt would generate electricity by using the water in Kayan river.

"It would be done gradually for seven years," he said.

China Power Investment Corp. has a good track record in building hydropower plant, as it has just completed a similar project in Myanmar.

Indonesia's electrification is at about 70 percent at present, according to state utility firm PT PLN.

With an economy growing at a rate of more than 6 percent since 2010, and perhaps by 6.5 percent this year and 6.8 percent next year, the demand for electricity was going to rise by 10 percent annually, Adi Supriono, corporate secretary of PLN, said.

Wacik said that the Chinese firm was also interested in taking part in funding the construction of smelters in Indonesia and development of renewable energy.

Wacik added that he and Xia expected the financing could kick off next year as Indonesia badly needs processing sector (smelter) to support the downstream of the country's mining industry.

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