SEOUL, June 30 (Yonhap) — The board of South Korea’s state-run utility firm Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) on Tuesday approved a business project to build two units of coal power plants in Indonesia despite controversies over profitability and the environment.

In March last year, KEPCO, PT Indonesia Power and another Indonesian energy firm, PT Barito Pacific, won the US$3.46 billion project to build the 9 and 10 coal-fired power plants with a total of 2,000 MW capacity on Java. Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co., South Korea’s leading power plant maker, will build the two power plants for 1.6 trillion won ($1.3 billion).

KEPCO will invest $51 million in the project for a 15 percent stake in the project.’

Environmental activists have been demanding that KEPCO scrap the project, insisting that it will significantly damage the environment.

KEPCO, on the other hand, said the project has passed the feasibility test carried out by the Korea Development Institute and will strictly follow international environmental regulations.

Amid the escalating controversies, the company’s board of directors held a meeting on the issue last week but decided to hold off on its decision.

The heavy industry-focused Doosan Group has been implementing a self-rescue plan to pay its 3.6 trillion-won debt extended by its main creditors Korea Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of Korea.