Energy Transition in the Midst of Coal Mining Siege

Samarinda, 7 September 2023 – The energy transition is an unavoidable inevitability. Current world trends show that the earth is getting hotter and to limit the rise in earth’s temperature, structured solutions are needed, including the energy transition, which involves various sectors and multi-stakeholders.

Society and communities are one of the key actors in the energy transition who can initiate the development of renewable energy to answer their energy needs. 

The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) in collaboration with the Clean Affordable and Secure Energy for Southeast Asia (CASE) project and the Department of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) of East Kalimantan Province held the ‘Jelajah Energi Kaltim’ activity to see directly and closer to the development of various initiatives for using renewable energy in East Kalimantan Province.

This series of activity began with a workshop, followed by visits to a number of places. On the first day of the visit, the group saw PV installation at the Pertamina Hulu Mahakam office, TPAS Manggar, and Kariangau Coal plants in Teluk Balikpapan.

The “Jelajah Energi Kaltim” trip continued on the second day starting with a visit to Mulawarman Village to see how the community uses livestock manure to make biogas. The biogas in Mulawarman village is home-sized biogas digester aid from the East Kalimantan Province Energy and Mineral Resources Service.

Mulawarman Village is in Tenggarong Seberang District, Kutai Kertanegara Regency, East Kalimantan. Coal mines surround Mulawarman Village. This condition made the residents of Mulawarman village ask to be relocated.

The East Kalimantan Regional Government is starting to pay attention to Mulawarman village to help the economy of Mulawarman village residents, one of which is by developing livestock groups and providing assistance with biogas installations.

In 2021, the East Kalimantan ESDM Service provided biogas installation assistance to stock farmer group (which had been surveyed) in the village, totaling 20 farmers. This means that people do not have to pay monthly fees for using this biogas.

People who use biogas immediately feel positive impacts, such as savings in costs for cooking fuel. Zaenal Abidin, a resident of Mulawarman Village, who is also a beneficiary of the biogas installation assistance, said that previously, to meet their cooking needs, their family could use up to 4 pieces of 3 kg LPG in one month. Now, he can cut his LPG needs to just 1 piece of 3 kg LPG.

“For everyday cooking (biogas, ed.) is enough. But if there are social events such as recitations, we still have to use LPG gas,” said Zaenal Abidin.

Zaenal also added that the cooking process using biogas fuel takes a little longer than using LPG. This biogas installation assistance is also accompanied by the transfer of knowledge about technology to the stock farmers. So that they can detect technical obstacles that could potentially arise from using this home biogas installation.

The Group continued their journey to Menamang Kanan Village, Muara Kaman District, Kutai Kartanegara Regency. The journey to Menamang Kanan Village takes almost 3 hours with heavy dusty road conditions which result in very limited visibility.

In the past year, residents of Menamang Kanan Village have succeeded in enjoying electricity from a centralized PV installation assisted by the East Kalimantan Energy and Mineral Office with a capacity of 87 kWp. This solar PV supplies basic electricity needs for 600 families in Menamang Kanan Village.

Previously, the residents of Menamang Kanan Village depended on the electricity supply from the diesel generator provided by one of the company’s CSR programs operating around the village. For the operation of this diesel generator, 70 liters of fuel is needed every day to provide electricity for 4 hours.

Zapir, Village Secretary of Menamang Kanan, explained that although electricity from solar PV has increased access to electricity in Menamang Kanan Village, its utilization is still limited to lighting and basic electronic equipment.

“So, it’s just for lighting, and maximumly a fan. It’s still not possible for TVs or refrigerators,” said Zapir.

Zapir hopes that the capacity of this communal solar PV can be increased in the future so that village residents can use electricity for productive activities that have the potential to bring economic value. Not limited to just lighting.

Improving Indonesia’s Energy Transition Strategy

Jakarta, 13 September 2023 – The energy transition is increasingly inevitable as global climate commitments strengthen. The energy sector is one of the sectors highlighted because of its intense emissions. More or less the same thing also happened in Indonesia. The Indonesian Government’s commitment to achieving net zero emission status is accompanied by a set of strategies and plans, one of which is intervention in the energy sector, especially the power generation.

Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform, explained that the electricity sector is a low-hanging fruit sector or a sector that is quite easy to decarbonize.

“A successful transition in the electricity sector will accelerate the transition in other sectors such as industry and transportation,” explained Fabby in a webinar entitled “Preparing for Indonesia’s Energy Transition & Anticipating Its Implications and Launching the Indonesia Energy Transition Dialogue”.

The Energy Transformation Program Manager, Institute for Essential Services Reform, Deon Arinaldo, added that the electricity sector has a solid enough supporting infrastructure to make the transition.

“The electricity sector provides wide-open access to decarbonization opportunities. “The technology is already available, there is potential for international funding such as JETP, there is already a supporting policy framework such as Presidential Decree 112/2022,” said Deon.

This is in line with the strategy prepared by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM). Gigih Udi Atmo, Director of Energy Conservation, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources stated that the government’s priority is also the electricity sector.

“In the road map that we have drawn up, the power sector will have zero emissions before 2060, between 2057-2058. The rest is from the hard-to-abate sectors, such as industry and transportation,” he said.

The existence of the will and policy support for the transition is a good thing, but this is not enough by Adam Adiwinata, ASEAN Energy Transition Outlook Consultant, IRENA.

“The effectiveness and consistency of policies must be considered so that the energy transition occurs massively and accelerates. “Indonesia must be agile in looking at a policy, whether the policy can be improved or implemented to support the energy transition in Indonesia,” explained Adam.

A consistent policy framework is one of the enabling environment points to encourage massive penetration of renewable energy. This was stated by economist Faisal Basri, who is also a member of the Indonesia Clean Energy Forum.

“Often, Indonesia’s enabling environment makes it difficult to obtain funding. Policies that are prone to change make institutions or countries hesitate to give money to Indonesia,” said Faisal.

Faisal also added that commitments such as the implementation of a carbon tax which continue to be postponed show Indonesia’s weak commitment to the energy transition.

New Hope in Menamang Kanan

Samarinda, 7 September 2023 – Menamang Kanan Village is located in Muara Kaman District, Kutai Kartanegara Regency. It takes around 4 hours to travel from the city of Samarinda via road to reach this village. Until 2022, the people of Menamang Kanan rely on diesel generators from a company’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibilities) program to fulfill their access to electricity. Diesel will light up and be a source of lighting for residents for 4 hours every day.

The hope of having longer and better quality access to electricity is slowly starting to come to light in 2022. Through the East Kalimantan Regional Revenue and Expenditure Budget (APBD), Menamang Kanan village received centralized solar PV installation of 87 kWp. Electricity from this PV is distributed to 600 families.

Even though we already have other energy sources, unfortunately the quality of electricity produced is only sufficient for lighting and basic electronics.

“Because we only produce 700 watts/day and it has to be used communally, so it can only be used for lights and fans at most, It can’t be used for TV or cooking rice, let alone the refrigerator,” explained Zapir, Menamang Kanan Village Secretary.

Zapir added that the people of Menamang Kanan hope to increase the electricity capacity they receive so that people can use electricity for other, more productive activities. Not limited to lighting.

The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) believes that the quality of electricity received by society needs to improve because if the electricity they receive is of low quality, society will not be able to carry out productive activities that can improve the economy. Decentralized power plants such as solar PV need to increase massively to supply electricity in rural areas.

Regional governments can utilize their authority in developing renewable energy as regulated in Presidential Decree Number 11 of 2023, in order to improve the quality of people’s access to electricity.

“This additional authority certainly needs to be followed by local government initiatives to design programs that also address the need to provide energy access, especially with local renewable energy. This principle of energy decentralization enables independent energy efforts with the involvement of many parties and is expected to improve community welfare with sustainable energy access,” explained Marlistya Citraningrum, Sustainable Energy Access Program Manager, Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) in the webinar “Energy Transition in Equity National Electrification”.

Decentralization of energy by utilizing renewable energy sources will open up opportunities for wider and participatory exploration of utilization so as to facilitate access to electricity and increase the reliability of its quality.