Navigating Water Illuminates the Plains of Sriwijaya

Palembang, February 27, 2024 – The Jelajah Energi South Sumatra group was welcomed by the thunderous sound of the fast-flowing Endikat River and the cloudy weather upon their arrival at Muara Endikat, also known as the mouth of the Cawang River, in Singapore Village, Kota Agung District, Lahat Regency, South Sumatra. This region is known for its breathtaking natural beauty and has significant potential to provide electrical energy for the local population.

Located about a 1 to 1.5-hour drive away from Pagar Alam City, the Jelajah Energi South Sumatra group reached PLTMH Green Lahat. This Mini Hydro Power Plant (MHP) has been operational since 2015 and has an electrical energy production capacity of 3×3.3 Megawatts (MW), making its total capacity 9.9 MW.

“7 MW of the total energy produced is allocated to meet the electricity needs of Pagar Alam City, while the remaining 30% is distributed to Lahat Regency,” said Kastiono, plant manager of Green Lahat MHP. 

Next to MHP Green Lahat, MHP Endikat (both under the parent company PT Manggala Gita Karya) has also been built with a 3 x 2.67 MW capacity, which will be operational in 2022. The two independent power producers (IPPs) utilize the flow of the Endikat River to produce electrical energy that is sold to PLN and used later by the community.

Kastiono explained that before the construction of the MHP, the residents residing around the power plant in Pagar Alam City and Lahat Regency used to experience a drop in electricity voltage. The poor quality of electricity was influenced by various factors, including the power plant’s location being too far from the substation, which led to unstable voltage. Additionally, Kastiono admits that the electricity production from MHP Green Lahat depends on the conditions around the river upstream.

“The most crucial aspect is the greening of the upstream. Everything must be controlled, and there should be no illegal logging. However, the responsibility of maintaining forest cover in the watershed also involves other agencies,” he said.

Rizqi Mahfud Prasetyo, Project Coordinator of Sub National, Sustainable Energy Access, IESR mentioned that according to IESR’s study, Indonesia has 27.8 GW of MHP/MH potential, of which 287.7 MW is located in South Sumatra. 

“In addition to increasing the renewable energy mix in PLN’s electricity. MHP can improve the quality of energy access for people who may not have been reached by the PLN network,” Rizqi said.

Rizqi also added that the geography and topography of some of Indonesia’s contoured areas allow for the existence of river flows and river drops. River flow has the potential to be utilized as a power plant, one of which is in PLTM Green Lahat which utilizes the Endikat river flow.

The presence of MHP Green Lahat and MHP Endikat instills a sense of hope in the communities of South Sumatra by providing dependable electrical energy and bolstering the infrastructure and local economy. These micro-hydro power plants are expected to continue to offer sustainable benefits to the community and the environment in the long run.

Encouraging the Energy Transition in the Industrial Sector in South Sumatra

Jelajah Energi Sumatera Selatan

Palembang, 26 February 2024 – Energy is a basic need for individuals and communities with various purposes. Even though energy is something crucial in human life, not many people know or are critical of the energy sources (such as electricity) that they use every day.

On a larger scale such as the industrial sector, energy needs will be directly proportional to the productivity and economic contribution of the products produced. Somewhat different from energy use on a household scale, energy use in the industrial sector is relatively well monitored. In terms of awareness of energy sources, industry tends to better understand the energy sources they choose.

In an effort to promote the use of renewable energy, the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) collaborates with the South Sumatra Province Energy and Mineral Resources Office to organize the South Sumatra Energy Exploration (Jelajah Energi Sumatera Selatan) activity for one week starting from Monday, February 26th, 2024 to Friday March 1st, 2024. This activity also embraces journalists as strategic partners in increasing public literacy regarding the energy transition.

The series of events began with an introductory workshop to provide participants with a basic understanding of energy and the energy landscape of South Sumatra, which acts as an “energy barn”. However, the dominant energy used is fossil energy i.e coal. Meanwhile, apart from fossil energy sources, South Sumatra Province also has a technical potential for renewable energy reaching 21,032 MW, yet only around 4.7% or 989 MW has been utilized.

Rizqi M. Prasetyo, IESR Sub-National Project Coordinator, explained that with the renewable energy potential of South Sumatra, projects can be utilized to bring benefits to the community.

“One of the (good practices, ed) that has been carried out in South Sumatra is the CSR initiative to use solar PV to drive land irrigation water pumps,” said Risky.

Secretary of the South Sumatra Province ESDM Service, Ahmad Gufran, said that his party was open to various ideas for greater use of renewable energy.

“We will continue to contribute to the development of the renewable energy sector to obtain clean, environmentally friendly energy. In the future, we hope that the use of clean energy can expand to all levels of society,” said Ahmad Gufan.

After receiving a general introductory workshop, the Energy Exploration journey began by visiting PT Pupuk Sriwidjaja (PUSRI). PT PUSRI is the first fertilizer producer in Indonesia and has been operating since the 1970s. Considering that the company’s operational period is quite long, production assets have also entered a period of revitalization. This moment is also used to switch to a cleaner type of technology for future operational periods.

VP of Environment at PUSRI Palembang, Yusuf Riza, explained that in an effort to be in line with the government’s agenda to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, PT PUSRI is taking a number of steps, including implementing energy efficiency practices, using electric vehicles as operational vehicles in factory environments, and installing on-grid rooftop PV for office operations.

“Currently we have installed a rooftop PV of 110 kWp as an energy source in office buildings, and this year (2024, ed) we plan to increase our (PV) capacity by 100 kWp. So in total we will have around 210 kWp PV capacity,” said Yusuf.

When Geothermal Energy Illuminates the Land of Sriwijaya

Palembang, February 29, 2024On Thursday morning, the Jelajah Energi South Sumatra group arrived at the Geothermal Power Plant (PLTP) in Lumut Balai, Muara Enim, South Sumatra, owned by PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy Tbk (PGE), after a long and winding journey that took about 4 hours from Muara Enim City. The group was welcomed with cold weather due to the plant’s location on a hill. Despite challenging geographical conditions, PLTP Lumut Balai Unit I, located at least 2,055 meters above sea level, has become a silent witness to the wonders of geothermal energy.

Acting General Manager of PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy Tbk (PGE) Lumut Balai Area, Aris Kurniawan, explained that the company is committed to providing reliable, affordable, clean energy access to all Indonesian people. The Lumut Balai Unit 1 PLTP, which has an installed capacity of 55 MW, has been supplying electricity to around 55,000 homes in the PGE working area since 2019. Moreover, it has helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).

“The Lumut Balai geothermal plant continues to move forward. By 2024, the target is to complete the construction of unit 2 of the Lumut Balai PLTP and proceed to the commissioning stage. Unit 2 has entered the EPCC (engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning) stage for the plant’s construction. In December 2024, it is expected to enter the commissioning phase until commercial operation (commercial on date). The project is still on track,” said Aris.

Aris stated that the Lumut Balai geothermal power plant is located in the Lumut Balai and Margabayur geothermal working areas (WKP), South Sumatra, with a mapped potential of 270 MW. With the development of the LMB Unit-2 Project, the installed capacity for the Lumut Balai Area will increase to 110 MW, equivalent to lighting 110,000 homes.

“Through our projects in Lumut Balai, we aim to mitigate climate change risks and support Indonesia in achieving 23% of the national grid mix from renewable energy sources by 2025. With a focus on innovation and efficiency, PGE is committed to reducing carbon emissions even further in the future to support Indonesia Net Zero Emission 2060,” said Aris.

Aris highlighted that, alongside the success of the energy transition through the optimization of geothermal development as a green energy source, PGE is also prepared to contribute to the carbon exchange initiative. This initiative serves as a tool that can encourage effective emission reductions and incentivize companies to participate in efforts to mitigate climate change.

“As of September 2023, PGE has contributed to the domestic carbon market by issuing 864,209 tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2eq), and this is the first geothermal carbon project on the carbon exchange,” Aris said.

Faricha Hidayati, Coordinator of the Industrial Decarbonization Project, Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) stated that among the geothermal working areas (WKP) established by the government, WKP Lumut Balai is one of the leading ones because it has geothermal potential of more than 300 MW, of which 55 MW has been operating since 2019 and other units are under construction and will be completed in December 2024. If this geothermal potential is properly utilized, Indonesia will be able to have 23.7 GW of clean energy and achieve net zero emissions by 2060, or sooner.

“Unfortunately, not many people are aware of this abundant potential, and many still choose energy from fossil fuels. Therefore, IESR in collaboration with the Energy and Mineral Resources Agency of South Sumatra held this Energy Tour to disseminate this information to the public. Hopefully, the Indonesian people will become wiser in using electricity and the like, and can then jointly oversee government policies in encouraging Indonesia’s energy transition to become greener and more sustainable,” Faricha explained.

Exploring Renewable Energy Utilization in the Land of Sriwijaya

Palembang, February 27, 2024 – The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) and the Energy and Mineral Resources Agency (ESDM) of South Sumatra Province jointly organized an event called Jelajah Energi to explore the potential and implementation of renewable energy in the South Sumatra region. The event was held from Monday, February 26, to March 1, 2024. On the second day of Jelajah Energi, the team visited Jakabaring to observe the utilization of solar energy and PT Buyung Poetra Energi to witness the use of biomass.

Solar PV Jakabaring is a project established through a partnership between Indonesia and Japan under the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM)—the project aimed to fulfill the electricity requirements during the 2018 Asian Games. The total investment value for the project was USD 139 million, with most of the funds coming from private Indonesian investment and subsidies from the Japanese Government.

Ali Kartiri, the Operations Manager of PT Sumsel Energi Gemilang, is responsible for overseeing the Jakabaring solar power plant. According to Kartiri, the South Sumatra Provincial Government took the initiative to build this solar power plant. In collaboration with Sharp Japan, the project secured subsidies from the Japanese Government. These subsidies were primarily allocated for funding technology and infrastructure that supports greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

“The Solar PV Jakabaring has a peak electrical energy production capacity of up to 2 Megawatts (MW) when the sunlight is optimal. However, during the rainy season, the plant’s productivity is sometimes affected, and it can only absorb about 10% of the solar energy. The plant has been successfully operational since 2018 and integrated into the PLN grid, contributing renewable energy to the local community.,” Ali said.

Meanwhile, The Jelajah Energi team recently visited PT Buyung Poetra Energi (BPE), a company that established a biomass power plant (PLTBm) to preserve the environment. The plant uses rice husks as fuel to generate electricity, which was previously considered waste. Candra Priansyah, the Operations Supervisor of PT BPE, explained how this approach has turned an environmental problem into a valuable energy source.

“Waste produced during rice milling in the form of husks will be burned in a boiler to generate steam. This steam will then be transferred to a steam turbine that will power a generator. The power plant requires 4 tons of husks per hour and has a capacity of 3 MW. However, not all the chaff produced is used for the power plant. Only about 70% of the available supply is used for generating power, while the remaining 30% is used for heating and drying rice grains,” Candra said.

Candra said that all chaff waste produced by PT BPE is being utilized environmentally friendly, and none of it is being disposed of into the environment. Moreover, the electricity generated from this PLTBm is sufficient to meet the company’s operational requirements. Candra hopes this power plant can help reduce the amount of rice husk waste, particularly from factories in South Sumatra where rice husks have been thrown away or simply burned. Candra’s team has even developed a machine to compress rice husk by-products into pellets at the Subang Factory located in West Java. These pellets are then sold to cement factories as fuel.


During the visit, it was evident that South Sumatra is dedicated to developing renewable energy sources to tackle global environmental challenges. South Sumatra is making significant progress towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly future by working with the public and private sectors and receiving support from foreign governments.

Civil Society Coalition: New Energy Sector Rules Set Back Energy Transition Commitment

press release

Jakarta, March 8, 2024 – The Renewable Energy Movement’s Civil Society Coalition is questioning the government’s commitment to the energy transition. They consider some regulations to be disincentives for switching to renewable energy. These regulations include the Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) Ministerial Regulation on solar PV, the Presidential Regulation (Perpres) on carbon capture and storage, and the Draft Government Regulation (RPP) on the National Energy Policy (KEN).

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) has recently issued Regulation No. 2 of 2024, which outlines new rules for Rooftop Solar Power Plants. Unfortunately, these changes may discourage the public from installing rooftop solar power plants, particularly in households and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The first change is that excess rooftop solar power production can no longer be exported to PT PLN. Therefore, it won’t be counted as a bill reduction. The second change is that the development of rooftop solar PV will follow a quota system set by PLN. In addition, there will be only two registration periods per year. The problem is that the export of electricity to the PLN grid is the attraction of rooftop solar PV. With this provision, people can pay more to install batteries. Not only that, the payback period for rooftop solar power plants will also be extended to 9-10 years. In fact, with the 100% excess electricity export provision as in the current regulation, the cost of installing rooftop solar power plants can be recovered in four to five years.

“This regulation is a setback because it will reduce public participation in installing rooftop solar power plants. Not only does it hinder household consumers, but this new regulation also makes it difficult for industries that want to install rooftop solar power plants. This means that the new regulation shows that the government is getting further away from its commitment to energy transition,” said Jeri Asmoro, Digital Campaigner of Indonesia.

Community enthusiasm for rooftop solar power installation in rural and urban areas is relatively high, according to Reka Maharwati, Coordinator of Enter Nusantara. For instance, the people of Sembalun Village in West Nusa Tenggara and the Al-Muharram Mosque community in Taman Tirto, Yogyakarta, have installed rooftop solar power to achieve their dream of energy independence.

“I’m sure many other communities want to install rooftop solar panels in their homes or even be empowered to work collectively in the community. The government should be able to collaborate with these enthusiasts and create new schemes more beneficial to the community,” said Reka.

Similarly, Hadi Priyanto, a Renewable Energy Campaigner of Greenpeace Indonesia, revealed that an equitable energy transition can only be realized if the community is involved. “Community participation is one of the keys to achieving the energy mix target, but various revisions to existing regulations show the government’s lack of seriousness in energy transition efforts. The principles of fairness and democratization of energy that have been echoed in the JETP program will only be a platitude without real steps to break away from fossil energy dependence,” he added. 


Similar to the updated regulations about rooftop solar PV, the draft RPP KEN containing a reduction in the renewable energy mix target from 23% to 17-19% in 2025 also hinders the acceleration of the energy transition. In the National Energy Council (DEN) document on the draft RPP KEN, the renewable energy mix until 2030 is targeted at 19-21% and will only increase in 2040 to 38-41%.

Deon Arinaldo, Program Manager of Energy Transformation, Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), explained that the draft KEN RPP only allows Indonesia to reach peak emissions in 2035, which is 7-10 years later than what is needed to limit the increase in global average temperature below 1.5°C, as recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. This puts the achievement of the Paris Agreement and carbon-neutral commitments by 2060 or sooner, which the government has aimed for, at risk.

The delayed peak emission in Indonesia means that the country will have to speed up its energy transition in a shorter time frame than previously anticipated, resulting in higher costs and more significant social impacts that will be difficult to mitigate. The draft policy has also affected the perspectives of various actors, including renewable energy investors and developers, regarding the government’s commitment to promoting renewable energy development.

“This also marks the reduction in primary energy mix targets in 2025 and 2030, especially the share of renewable energy such as solar and wind, which can hamper the cooperation of the energy transition. This is because renewable energy that can enable energy democratisation, such as solar energy, has a small portion. Greater support is given to large-scale projects such as fossil plants with carbon capture storage (CCS) or nuclear technology. So the draft KEN RPP does not favour energy transition with the community,” said Deon Arinaldo.


The plan to change KEN also contradicts Indonesia’s JETP Agreement commitment, which targets a renewable energy mix of more than 44% by 2030. It is feared that changes to KEN will impact the revision of the JETP commitment. In addition, as a large umbrella for national energy planning, the draft KEN RPP also has the potential to undermine efforts to transition to renewable energy that have been carried out in the regions.

Red Carpet for False Solutions

Not only does it disincentivize renewable energy development, but government policy encourages false solutions as an energy transition strategy. This step is fatal because it can lock Indonesia into fossil energy dependence, which leads to failure to achieve carbon neutrality.


In the revised KEN, for example, until 2060, the government still plans to operate fossil energy-based power plants and ‘green’ them with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. In addition, the government intends to operate nuclear power plants (PLTN) by 2032 and use gas fuel for transportation and households until 2060.

The government’s support for fake solutions is also shown by the issuance of Presidential Regulation No. 14 of 2024 concerning implementing Carbon Capture and Storage Activities. This regulation allows companies to inject and store carbon emissions into underground reservoirs. The IEEFA Report shows that out of 13 CCS projects with a total of 55% of the world’s capacity, seven projects performed poorly, two failed, and one stopped operations. The application of CCS technology is feared to be a greenwashing effort that perpetuates fossil energy-based power plants.

These three regulations raise questions regarding how serious the government is about encouraging renewable energy development. This is because the national renewable energy mix has always been below the target in the last five years. 

“Regulations will be a long-term legal basis to ensure that energy transition steps are carried out legally. If the legal basis is made exactly the opposite of the target stated by the government, then where is the commitment to the energy transition? If the regulations are continuously directed to continue utilising fossil energy, investors interested in doing renewable energy business will withdraw because they do not have legal certainty. Our problem is in legal certainty,” said Agung Budiono, Executive Director of the CERAH Indonesia Foundation.