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Exploring Ocean Energy: An Alternative to Net Zero Emission

Fabby Tumiwa, Direktur Eksekutif IESR

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Jakarta, December 21, 2023 – The Center for Marine Geological Survey and Mapping (BBSPGL) of the Geological Agency of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has conducted a survey and mapping of potential marine energy that can be utilized as electrical energy. As per their findings, 17 water points in Indonesia have been identified as having the potential for marine energy. These locations’ total electricity generation capacity is estimated to be around 60 GW (gigawatts).

The Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), Fabby Tumiwa, explained that Ocean energy refers to the potential energy generated from the kinetic and potential energy of the sea. Furthermore, Fabby estimates that the potential of 60 GW is too low because the sea surrounds Indonesia, so the potential should be more than 60 GW. For this reason, the mapping should be done as a whole, not just 17 points. 

“The ocean energy potential in Indonesia is estimated to be around 60 GW, much higher than the geothermal resources of approximately 29 GW. According to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, this makes ocean energy a promising alternative to achieve net zero emissions (NZE) targets in the electricity sector by 2050 and the entire energy sector by 2060, as per the long-term plan for energy system development in Indonesia,” Fabby said on iNews’ Market Review program on Thursday (21/12). 

Fabby mentioned that ocean energy has distinct characteristics similar to geothermal and hydropower, considered predictable energy sources. Using ocean energy as a source of electricity can address the concerns of many stakeholders about integrating renewable energy into the electricity system. Moreover, Fabby has evaluated that tidal and wave energy have the highest potential for generating marine energy in Indonesian waters. This assessment is based on Indonesia’s technological readiness, economics, and conditions.

“Why these two types of ocean energy? Because of technological readiness, some technologies have entered the commercial market, so it’s easy. If it has entered the commercial market, it is easier to apply because it has been proven. Secondly, Indonesia’s conditions where we see the plant is suitable for providing electricity in coastal areas. For example, to provide electricity on remote islands. Third, both technologies are relatively low in price, making them attractive to develop,” Fabby explained. 

On the other hand, Fabby discussed some of the challenges Indonesia faces in developing renewable energy. First, the viability of renewable energy projects depends on the quality of policies and regulations. Second, there are limitations in the electricity market structure as renewable energy can only be sold to PLN, which also depends on the readiness of the network and electricity demand. PLN has claimed to be in a state of overcapacity for the past three years. Third, renewable energy investment is not encouraging due to its high capital expenditures (CAPEX) and low operating expenses (OPEX). This type of investment is also associated with the type of funding available.

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