Striving an Early Literacy on Energy Transition

South Tangerang, May 23rd, 2022 – The energy transition is a global agenda whose impact will be felt in the medium-long term. Conducting research, agreement, and policy formulation are various efforts to urge stakeholders to take action in the “present days” that are expected to have an impact on the near future. Of course, in the long term, a fair & just energy transition must be encouraged and implemented to mitigate climate change.

However, have we ever thought that in the future, who will be most affected by the implementation of the energy transition? Of course, the younger generation. Thus, it is only fair to teach them from an early age to understand the concept of the energy transition. Because, in the future, policymakers in 2060, the year Indonesia targets to achieve net-zero emissions, are currently still in school.

As a concrete effort based on this understanding, the Clean, Affordable, and Secure Energy for Southeast Asia (CASE) project in Indonesia held an activity entitled “Teaching for Future” which was held at Santa Ursula School BSD, specifically for Class IX students. In this activity, CASE seeks to instill an energy transition mindset by initiating discussions and active teaching and learning activities involving students from Santa Ursula School BSD.

This activity done by CASE is in line with the efforts of Santa Ursula BSD School in instilling understanding and education about climate change from an early age as conveyed by Mrs. Irene Rosmawati, the Principal of Santa Ursula BSD School.

“Santa Ursula School actively and systematically provides teaching and learning activities related to climate change and renewable energy issues. It is hoped that students will have an understanding as to the initial capital for their real actions in the future.”

During the Teaching for the Future activity, CASE invited George Hadi Santoso, Vice President of Xurya Daya Indonesia, a company that provides installation and procurement services for rooftop solar panel systems, to directly attend the session and discuss with students of Santa Ursula School.

“I especially appreciate Santa Ursula BSD School and CASE Project who initiated this activity in an effort to support the energy transition process in the long term. I really hope that my presence here can be an inspiration for these youngsters in choosing a career in green jobs in the future,” said George, opening the discussion session in class.

Santa Ursula BSD School is a school that has taken the initiative and is in the process of installing a rooftop Solar Power Plant (PLTS) with a capacity of at least more than 1 Megawatt peak (MWp). CASE Indonesia sees this initiative as a concrete action for schools to support the energy transition in Indonesia. In addition, CASE Indonesia hopes that this initiative can become a real example for students regarding the use of renewable energy and how non-governmental actors can play a role in supporting the energy transition. Coming from the same spirit (real action against climate change), CASE and Xurya also invite students to understand other things that can be done at their age to support the energy transition, such as energy-saving habits.

An interesting finding during the activity was conveyed by Agus Praditya Tampubolon, CASE Program Manager from IESR.

“It is very interesting how junior high school students can think further about the implementation of renewable energy, for example, we were asked about the risk of dependence on imported solar panels if Indonesia uses solar energy intensively. Findings like this, that students can think ahead and beyond, we hope, will be a good sign for Indonesia’s energy transition efforts in the future,” Agus explained at the end of the event.

The Urge to Elevate Climate Change Literacy

The 2015 Paris Agreement mandated global leaders to commit climate change mitigation and other feasible measures to ensure the global temperature rise less than 2 degrees celsius. Most countries choose energy transition, shifting from fossil-based energy systems to renewables one, as one of the strategies to embody the commitment. Energy transition is believed to be a strategic move to address climate issues since all sectors are using energy. However, it comes as well with a pack of challenges – especially for a country like Indonesia whose electricity system is centralized and moderated by the State. The shift of energy source related and might affect many aspects such as investment and suitable infrastructures for a power generator.

These issues have been taken into consideration why it is hard to do energy transition in Indonesia. Yet, Aris Prasetiyo, during the book review event “Jejak dan Langkah Energi Terbarukan di Indonesia” – as part of the Clean, Affordable and Secure Energy (CASE) for Southeast Asia – told that there is a bunch of best practices relying on local wisdom to live harmoniously with the Nature, and utilizing renewable energy in local community that do not require big capital nor certain policy. 

In this book, Aris for instance mentions a local practice in Aketajawe Halmahera, that each man of Tobelo Dalam Ethnic must plant 10 trees when they are getting married. The same goes once they had male newborn. The practice is regarded as the act of paying back to nature as they already provide those people abundant resources. Aris emphasized that the act of Tobelo Dalam Community is such a good social practice to elevate climate change literacy in Indonesia.

Meidella Syahni, moderator of the book launch as well as the researcher of Mongabay Indonesia, also emphasized the importance of climate change literacy that should be more massively done in Indonesia. “It’s the homework of modern society to spread climate literacy to stakeholders at various levels. For example, the Government of Indonesia and the House of Representative (DPR) are quick enough to ratify related regulations and policies, but in real terms, the impacts and results of these policies have not yet been realised for the global climate.”

Julius Adiatma, Researcher and Lead Author of the Report on Indonesia Energy Transition Outlook (IETO) 2022, IESR – who also participated in the discussion at this book review said that there were positive progress related to the climate change and energy transition issue which had become a trend as discussion topics. “We see that the government until 2021 has many agendas and plans. For example, there was a pledge to stop building coal-fired power plants and phase-out coal, then a net-zero target of 2070. We saw earlier that many government commitments have at least been made into policies, although they have not been implemented yet.” said Julius.

The discussions continued by topic ‘access to financing for renewable energy projects’, which are still considered a challenge for most renewable energy business enterprises. “That (energy transition) is a new thing for banks, especially local banks in Indonesia. I think we need to support them, increase their literacy in this issue so that access to capital and innovative financing schemes can also be provided by financial institutions.” said Julius answering questions from representatives of renewable energy project developers during the discussion.

Concluding the discussion, the moderator also conveyed the importance of reading this book to increase understanding of why energy transition and the use of renewable energy are important for the public in general. In addition, the panelists and moderators agreed that the most important thing to do now is to carry out the commitments that have been stated in ideas and policies.

“In the short term, we need to follow directions regarding the energy transition. Indonesia already has guidelines, what it wants to achieve in 2025, what it wants to achieve in 2050. We just need to do what needs to be done. In my opinion, the quickest thing to do is to shift to using electric vehicles, although it doesn’t necessarily change the electricity mix, but the climate-friendly messages that are conveyed are a good start as the first step in literacy related to climate change.” said Aris closing the discussion of the book review.

Energy Crisis Or Fossil Energy Crisis?

Jakarta, October 11, 2021 – In recent months, many media have reported on the energy crisis in Europe. In the UK, for example, many electric and gas utility companies went bankrupt and were forced to close. People are also seen queuing at gas stations to buy fuel. This phenomenon shows us that even countries with strong economies are still quite vulnerable to energy security issues.

CASE for Southeast Asia Project held a discussion entitled “Energy Crisis in UK and Europe: Lessons Learned for Indonesia’s Energy Transition” which invited speakers from the UK and Europe (11/10/2021). In this discussion, the public in Indonesia is involved in the discussion to find out various important facts and findings related to the issue of the energy crisis that is currently happening in the UK and Europe.

In the UK the, industrial and household sectors are quite dependent on natural gas. With the winter season is approaching, the demand for gas is increasing as the need to warm homes also increases. This condition, when a country relies heavily on energy sources that are vulnerable to global markets, does raise a question: is this really an energy crisis, or is it a fossil energy crisis?

William Derbyshire, Director of Economic Consulting Associates (ECA), UK, on this occasion gave an explanation regarding the fact that the primary energy mix in the UK relies on natural gas as much as 42%. Furthermore, William also showed data that illustrates that since 2017, the price of natural gas has gradually increased until 2021, which has resulted in an increase in the selling price of electricity.

“If high fossil fuel prices are the problem, then the answer is reducing dependence on coal and gas, not adding more fossil fuels,” William said.

Based on this conclusion, renewable energy is a good solution to reduce dependence on fossil energy. But not without challenges, the UK, which has 16% of wind power plants in its power generation mix, has several important points to note. For example, Gareth Davies, Managing Director of Aquatera explained that wind farms in the UK have a fairly high variability scale.

Responding to this challenge, Gareth conveyed the need to conduct spatial analysis and planning related to areas that have sufficient wind gust potential, also taking into account the historical climate data.

“By distributing wind power production over a wider geographic area, it will help improve energy security and balance the UK’s energy supply through renewable energy,” said Gareth.

In line with William’s statement regarding the importance of making an immediate energy transition, Dimitri Pescia, Program Manager Southeast Asia of Agora Energiewende explained the fact, for example, in Germany, the investment cost to build renewable energy power plants is much cheaper than to build fossil power plants. In this context, Dimitri explained that investment in renewable energy can be considered as a hedging strategy to minimize the risk of using fossil energy in the energy transition period over the next few years.

From this discussion, the public is being helped to understand the real situation and the lessons that can be drawn for the energy transition process in Indonesia. Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR said that Indonesia needs to quickly adopt the use of renewable energy to minimize the risk of an energy crisis due to dependency on fossil energy. Fabby added that the development of these abundant potentials of renewable energy in Indonesia needs to be accompanied by energy efficiency, development of energy storage technology, as well as inter-island interconnectivity.

“It should be remembered that the current energy crisis is a fossil energy crisis. The volatility of fossil energy prices is very high. The increase of fossil energy prices will have an effect on other aspects,” said Fabby, emphasizing the real cause of the energy crisis in the UK and Europe.

Closing this discussion, Fabby expresses the urgency for the public to know this issue contextually so that there would be no panic in the community. “Indonesia itself does not need to worry about energy crises that occur in Europe, China, Britain, India, because Indonesia has the advantage of a better energy transition planning towards decarbonization way earlier,” concluded Fabby.

Watch again the discussion here:

Indonesia’s Net Zero Emissions: A Roadmap for Clean, Affordable and Secure Energy

Stakeholders in Indonesia have realized that climate change is an important aspect of development planning in Indonesia. In addition to economic growth through the development of key sectors according to the principles of sustainable development, the aspect of emission reduction also requires special attention in order to quickly achieve net zero emissions. On this basis, the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) in collaboration with the Indonesian Foreign Policy Community (FPCI) held a presentation and discussion regarding the roadmap to Indonesia’s net zero emissions by 2050.

On this occasion, IESR’s Research Coordinator, Pamela Simamora, stated that in formulating a strategy to achieve emission reductions, it is by remembering the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. Regarding the agreement and the global target, Pamela said that the government needs to refer back to Indonesia’s commitment (through Undang-Undang No. 16/2016, concerning the Ratification of the Paris Agreement) to reduce emissions by 29% with its own efforts or 41% with international assistance by 2030.

However, along the way, according to a report issued by the Climate Action Tracker in 2020, Indonesia’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) document that year was not in line with the targets agreed in the Paris Agreement. In addition, Indonesia’s Long-Term Strategy on Low Carbon and Climate Resilience (LTS-LCCR) document also does not show zero emissions as a target that must be achieved by 2050. Pamela said the government’s planning through the low-carbon development planning documents earlier was not in line with the downward trend in electricity prices with renewable energy sources (which are expected to contribute substantially to emission reductions).

The IESR study entitled “Deep Decarbonization on Indonesia’s Energy System: A Pathway to Zero Emission by 2050” shows that the energy sector (power generation, transportation and industry) can achieve zero emissions by 2050 because it has achieved the technical and economical feasibility. The roadmap has 4 main pillars; renewable energy, electrification, reduction of fossil fuels, and clean fuels. The study states that a drastic increase in the use of renewable energy, electric vehicles, and electric heating is necessary to be implemented within this decade.

This study also states the need for the implementation of a coal moratorium to reach the peak of carbon from coal by 2025. This study also projects that the electricity sector will become the first sector to be carbon-free by 2045 by utilizing renewable energy sources and battery technology. On this basis, Pamela said that the Government of Indonesia could further increase its emission reduction target.

Responding to the explanation, Satya Widya Yudha from the National Energy Council (DEN) said that beside the Paris Agreement, Indonesia also has a target and vision of Indonesia Emas in 2045 which targets 6% economic growth. With this target, Indonesia has a strategy to develop and grow the manufacturing and service industries, which of course will follow the rules of green growth. Based on this, Satya said that energy consumption will also increase, so that the peak of national emissions is still difficult to achieve even in 2040-2050.

In addition to the aspect of industrial growth, Satya also responded to IESR’s input regarding the moratorium on coal that needs to be terminated as soon as possible. Satya explained that there is a legal risk and financial impact that harms Indonesia if the use of coal is immediately stopped, this is feared to be a premature policy and it is felt that there is still much need to be studied about its implementation strategy.

The same thing was conveyed by Chrisnawan Anditya, Director of the Directorate of Various New Energy, DGNREEC, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. Chrisnawan stated that there is a need for a study related to the calculation of Indonesia’s peak emission that covers all related industries. This is considered to be very important as the basis for planning the development of net zero emissions in Indonesia. Chrisnawan also said that the use of new technologies such as batteries and pumped storage needs to be targeted by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources to be applied in 2030.

In addition, important aspects due to the COVID-19 pandemic were also discussed at this event. Rachmat Mardiana, Director of the Directorate of Energy, Telecommunications and Communication at Bappenas, stated that it is projected that until 2022, changes in global geopolitical dynamics and uneven global economic recovery will more or less be a challenge for Indonesia, especially in terms of energy transition. To compensate for this, Rachmat said Indonesia needed to quickly change its economic structure, implementing a greener economy. He also said that the energy sub-sector has a very complex structure that affects the structure of other sectors such as the economy and population; this concludes that energy planning needs to be carried out through careful studies.

Noor Syaifudin, Policy Analyst from Fiscal Policy Agency (BKF), Ministry of Finance said that towards the 41% emission reduction target, Indonesia needs global assistance, which so far has only been found to be in the form of loans that have the consequence of returning public funds. In addition to this, Noor also said it was necessary to prepare a strategy for the utilization and optimization of existing natural resources, as well as an affordable energy transition strategy for Indonesia. Closing the panel session, Noor said that local and provincial governments also have an important role in achieving the net zero emission target.

In closing the event, the panelists and speakers agreed that the involvement of young people and students in the energy transition process and the success of the net zero emission target is very important. For example, students can conduct research related to technological efficiency so that the cost of new and renewable energy is getting cheaper. This is expected to facilitate the making of supporting policies, which are still influenced by the assumption that renewable energy is an expensive technology.