Defining Just and Ensuring JETP Commitment

Jakarta, 18 April 2023 – Addressing the climate change issue needs not only commitment but it requires a huge amount of resources. Financing has become one of the biggest challenges for countries like Indonesia which rely on coal plants and need to transform them into renewable-based power generation to cut emissions from the power sector. This definitely needs huge financing.

International Partnership has committed to distributing funding to several countries to accelerate the energy transition. The funding is called the Just Energy Transition Partnership. Until April 2023, two countries i.e., South Africa and Indonesia, received the funding commitment. 

Vietnam, one of the Asian countries that rapidly developed renewable energy in the past few years, is in intensive communication to receive the funding. Minh Ha Duong, chairman of the Member Council VIETSE, during the webinar “Between Vision and Reality: Navigating JETP in South Africa, Indonesia, and Vietnam” said that the JETP will “reheat” the development of renewables in Vietnam.

“For several years, we can say that the renewable development in Vietnam is booming until we can have several gigawatts of renewable energy online, but it’s frozen lately. Therefore, this JETP will reheat the development so that we can have more renewables online,” he said.

South Africa, which became the first country to receive JETP, noted points worth considering for other countries and the IPG members in replicating the project in other countries.

“The JETP financing acts more like a catalyst during the energy transition process. Sure, it is not enough to cover the whole fund needed to transform the power sector and its social, and economic impact but it still can accelerate the transition,” Tracy Ledger, energy transition program lead at Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) said. Tracy highlighted that public participation during the JETP negotiations was very limited. 

Securing the JETP commitment of USD 20 billion during the G20 meeting last November, Indonesia has established a dedicated task force for JETP under the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. 

Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), which is actively involved in and reviews the energy sector in Indonesia and continuously gives input to definite policy makers, points out that the USD 20 billion is what is committed, but the disbursement can be dependent on many things. Therefore, Indonesia needs to prepare the ecosystem to welcome the funding.

The Indonesian government at least needs to work on the following issues: availability of bankable projects, a definite auction schedule for renewable plants, and an enabling environment for developers kicking their projects in Indonesia.

“We also need to define what is meant by ‘just’ in the JETP term. Our (IESR) context of ‘just’ involves labor and economic transition especially those who are in coal production provinces,” Fabby Tumiwa, executive director of IESR explained.

Indonesia’s JETP deals target emission reduction of 290 million tons of CO2 and a renewable mix of 34% by 2030. This target requires coal phase-out as a prerequisite for cutting down emissions from the power sector. As one of the impacts, coal production will drastically decrease and it will impact the coal-producing regions such as East Kalimantan, and South Sumatra.

Local economic activity will definitely shift as the mentioned provinces rely heavily on coal production for their gross domestic product. The quality of energy access that differs from one place to other challenges Indonesia’s JETP implementation. 

“The 34% target of renewables is not enough to decarbonize Indonesia’s energy system but it’s a good start to accelerate renewable energy utilization, nor the USD 20 billion. Yet, it can unlock more opportunities for energy transition,” Fabby said.

Fabby added that the establishment of renewable energy industries like battery and solar panel manufacturing become one of the keys to the success of the energy transition.

Implementation of ASEAN Taxonomy Version 2 Encourages Sustainable Development

press release

Jakarta, May 4, 2023 – The ASEAN Taxonomy Board (ATB) published the second version of the ASEAN Taxonomy for Sustainable Finance (ATSF v2) in March 2023. This taxonomy acts as a guidance to help classify economic activities, particularly those related to green financing. The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) welcomes the publication of the second edition of the green taxonomy as a strategic step to attract global investment to ASEAN in supporting sustainable development.

One of the new things and, for the first time, considered in the second version of the ASEAN Taxonomy is the gradual termination of coal-fired power plant operations as an effort to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the target of the Paris Agreement. The discontinuation of coal-fired power plants (CFPP) procedures will facilitate the diversity of understanding of ASEAN member countries regarding an equitable energy transition. The ATSF v2 also includes technical screening criteria (TSC) for energy transition financing, including the termination of coal-fired power plants, into the Green and Yellow categories. TSC is a quantitative or qualitative criterion that forms the basis for assessing the classification of whether an activity is included in Green activities (Green, contributes very important to environmental goals); Amber (Yellow, does not meet the criteria for Green but shows progressive steps to achieve sustainable ASEAN development) or Red (Red, not by environmental goals).

Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR, said that IESR welcomed the presence of ATSF v. 2 as a common ASEAN standard for green financing. He mentioned that the influx of funding for the early termination of the CFPP indicates that the region’s government is supporting the achievement of net-zero emissions in the middle of this century.

“More than half of the electricity in ASEAN comes from coal-fired power plants. Meanwhile, to achieve the target of the Paris Agreement, all CFPPs should be retired by 2040. The fact that more than 50% of CFPPs operating in the Southeast Asia region are less than ten years old has the consequence that the early termination of CFPP requires a sizable source of financing, which is combined with financing for the construction of renewable energy generators to ensure the security of energy supply in areas with fast-growing economies. In this context, ATSF v.2 can accelerate the termination of CFPP operations in ASEAN through green funding,” said Executive Director of IESR Fabby Tumiwa in a written statement from Media Luncheon: Getting to Know Green Taxonomy and Development of Energy Transition in ASEAN.

IESR considers that implementing this ASEAN taxonomy needs to be optimized in line with Indonesia’s chairmanship in ASEAN 2023. Indonesia can strengthen cooperation among ASEAN countries in overcoming energy transition challenges, including low investment in the renewable energy sector and the termination of coal-fired power plants. Indonesia has had several international funding opportunities for the development of renewable energy and the termination of coal-fired power plants through the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM), and Clean Investment Fund-Accelerated Coal Transition (CIF-ACT) with a total of USD 24, 05 billion. However, IESR assesses that at least USD 135 billion is needed by 2030 for energy transition costs in Indonesia, including the termination of CFPPs operations.

“Including financing for the termination of CFPP operations into the yellow and green categories will increase the opportunity to conduct funding related to the energy transition or transition finance. There needs to be clear communication from the regulator to business actors and financial institutions to allow financing for these activities. This is because several financial institutions have committed to no longer supporting coal-related funding. However, of course, this activity category is different,” explained Farah Vianda, Project Coordinator for Sustainable Financing, Green Economy, IESR.

Based on IESR analysis, over the last five years, the average investment in renewable energy has only reached USD 1.6 billion per year or 20 percent of the total investment needed to achieve the renewable energy mix target of 23% in 2025. Meanwhile, highlighting international support, based on IESR calculations, there is potential international funding of USD 13.1 billion or 35.4% of the total projected financing needs of USD 36.95 billion in 2025 to achieve the 23% renewable energy mix target.

“It is important to accelerate the energy transition to attract investment, increase industrial competitiveness, and ensure sustainable economic growth. Therefore it needs to be accelerated by building an ecosystem to develop clean emission technologies such as renewable energy. The green taxonomy is the first step. Furthermore, the government can formulate long-term policies that provide certainty for investment in renewable energy and create a regulatory framework that is at least equal between renewable energy and fossil energy,” said Deon Arinaldo, Energy Transformation Program Manager, IESR.

Deon explained that these two factors are essential to reduce investment risk in renewable energy and attract funding for renewable energy projects. On the other hand, incentives for the clean energy technology industry must be built so that Indonesia and other ASEAN countries can benefit from more optimal economic growth from the energy transition.