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South Sumatra Province Energy Transition Forum: Preparing for a Just Energy Transition

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Palembang, 30 May 2024 – Using renewable energy is a way to reduce emissions from the energy sector. This step will prevent the rise of the earth’s temperature and minimize the impact of the future climate crisis. However, the use of fossil energy still dominates in Indonesia. For this reason, careful planning and preparation are needed to ensure that switching from fossil energy to renewable energy or energy transition runs smoothly and fairly. Not only that, the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) assesses that the trend of energy transition in various parts of the world will trigger a decrease in demand for Indonesian coal. This will impact the economy of regions whose income comes from coal, including South Sumatra.

IESR encourages the South Sumatra government to prepare for an equitable energy transition through energy transition and economic transformation. This effort is made to prevent a decrease in regional income in line with the reduction in coal demand in various parts of the world.

In collaboration with the Energy and Mineral Resources Agency (ESDM) of South Sumatra Province, IESR initiated the South Sumatra Province Energy Transition Forum (29/5/2024). The event involved representatives from 17 regencies and cities in South Sumatra, as well as universities, industry, and mass media. Through this forum, dialogue and discussion took place to unite the vision and mission facing the energy transition.

Hendriansyah, Head of the Energy and Mineral Resources Agency of South Sumatra Province, said this forum is an essential step in the province’s shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The agency is committed to supporting various initiatives that will reduce carbon emissions and increase the use of clean energy.

“We invite the involvement of district and city governments in welcoming the inevitable energy transition. The purpose of this activity is to prepare and anticipate the impact of the energy transition and increase the utilization of renewable energy,” he said.

Based on data from the Energy and Mineral Resources Agency of South Sumatra Province, the installed capacity of renewable energy plants in South Sumatra reached 989.12 megawatts (MW) until 2023. According to Hendriansyah, South Sumatra is able to develop and utilize renewable energy despite being the largest coal producer in Indonesia.

“The energy transition is not just about technological change, but also behavioural and mindset change. Through this forum, we hope to create mutual awareness and commitment for a greener and more sustainable future,” said Hendriansyah.

Marlistya Citraningrum, Program Manager of Sustainable Energy Access at IESR, explained that transforming a sustainable energy system and economy requires policy innovations based on data-based scientific studies.

“IESR’s presence in South Sumatra is to work strategically with various stakeholders, provide technical assistance and capacity building, and build networks with government and non-government organizations. We have also conducted several researches collaboratively with Sriwijaya University academics to assess the challenges and opportunities of economic transformation in South Sumatra and built the South Sumatra Energy Transition Journalist Network (JTE) with the Palembang Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and the Society of Indonesian Environmental Journalists (SIEJ),” said Marlistya.

Marlistya also emphasized that the energy transition process must be equitable. According to her, prioritizing moral obligations in the energy transition will ensure that every individual has equal rights in this change.

“There are three principles to realize justice in the energy transition. First, justice at the local level, considering those affected by the energy transition. Second, justice from the perspective of authority is about building the participation of policymakers at different levels to create synergies and contextualized energy transition planning. Third, justice in the long term that takes into account the welfare of the community and anticipates the impact of changes in the economic structure on society,” Marlistya concluded.

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