Preparing for the Energy Transition in South Sumatra for Youth

Palembang, 5 December 2023 – The increasing intensity of hydrometeorological disasters in the last decade indicates that climate change is currently underway. Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Antonio Guterres, said that the earth is entering an era of global boiling, where July 2023 was recorded as the hottest day in history.

Climate change occurs due to high greenhouse gas emissions. The energy sector is one of the highest emitters, especially with the use of fossil energy such as coal. Indonesia is one of the coal producing countries, with 80% of its coal output for export needs. Indonesian coal production is concentrated in four provinces in Indonesia, namely East Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, North Kalimantan and South Sumatra. South Sumatra is a food and energy barn for the island of Sumatra. The coal produced by South Sumatra will be used to generate electricity which will supply all the electricity needs on the island of Sumatra, according to projections, it will even export electricity as far as Singapore.

Marlistya Citraningrum, Sustainable Energy Access Program Manager of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), in a public lecture at Sriwijaya University quoted a survey related to the current climate change phenomenon, young people aged 24-39 years had high concerns about the climate crisis and impact.

“The energy transition is a systematic effort to mitigate the impact of the climate crisis that we are increasingly feeling,” said Marlistya Citraningrum, who is familiarly known as Citra.

This change in the energy system also has other impacts, namely the growing need for workers who have skills and insight into sustainability.

However, young people’s enthusiasm for getting involved in green jobs is hampered by several things, one of which is the limited information about green jobs and job vacancies in the green jobs sector.

“In the energy transition process, young people can take roles according to their respective skills, not limited to the engineering field alone. Social departments such as economics and international relations can also contribute to the energy transition process,” said Citra.

Citra added that currently a number of challenges still face the development of green jobs in Indonesia, one of which is related to certification. Currently, certification is still limited to technical sectors related to renewable energy-based electricity generation.

On the other hand, reducing and stopping the use of coal and switching to renewable energy will have an impact on social and economic aspects in coal-producing regions in Indonesia. Hari Wibawa, Head of the Economic and Development Funding Division of South Sumatra Bappeda, on the same occasion, said that coal reserves in South Sumatra province will run out in 12 years, so economic diversification is very important to avoid major economic shocks when the coal sector stops.

“Our (government’s) current priority is to integrate the energy transition plan into the RPJPD so that every action or activity has a strong legal basis,” said Hari.

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