Nationwide Synergy and Investment for Indonesia’s Renewable Energy

Jakarta, 6 February 2023 – Indonesia’s journey to net zero emission is still a long and winding road. One of the government’s actions in realizing this target is to make regulations to encourage the implementation of renewable energy. In reality, targets, regulations and implementation are often unaligned.

Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), in the Market Review segment on the IDX channel (24/01/2023), stated that in 2022, Indonesia’s target for renewable energy development of 1000 MW has not been fully realized.

“There are several factors why this target was not fully realized, the first is the economic weakening which has caused unoptimized growth of electricity demand. Another factor is the pandemic, which caused delays on several renewable energy projects,” explained Fabby.

Furthermore, Fabby explained that Government Regulation no. 79/2014, which was more thoroughly mandated in Presidential Decree 22/2017, has set a target of a national renewable energy mix of 23% by 2025. To achieve this target, Fabby estimates that there needs to be a renewable energy growth of 3-4 Gigawatts per year. In fact, since the Government Regulation in 2014 was enacted, the average renewable energy increase rate is only 15% from 3-4 GW, which is around 400-500 MW.

This problem is also rooted in the country’s energy infrastructure itself. Indonesia’s energy source still depends on fossil energy, which accounts for 86%. To change this structure, it is also important to consider the growth in energy demand in Indonesia. Indonesia must then strive to use renewable energy to tackle this increasing energy demand. According to IESR calculations, energy transition efforts in Indonesia require around 1.4 billion dollars in funding. This fund covers renewable energy and energy infrastructure upgrades.

Regarding people’s economic perceptions, Fabby assesses that fossil energy is still seen as more economic because currently coal is still subsidized by the government. The Domestic Market Obligation Act in 2017 capped coal prices at $70/ton even if global prices are higher. This kind of incentive should also be given to the development of renewable energy. However, the incentive was also hampered by the Domestic Component Policy Level (TKDN).

“Solar PV has become the most efficient source of renewable energy, but in Indonesia it has become expensive. Compared to 10 years ago, the price of solar PV has decreased by 90%. The TKDN policy is actually a disincentive that can prevent investors from investing and make solar PV more affordable,” concluded Fabby.

The Increase of Emission Reduction Targets in Indonesia’s NDC is Still a Long Way to Mitigating a Climate Crisis

Jakarta, 6 December 2022- Indonesia has submitted Enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (ENDCs) documents by increasing the target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by only around 2%. The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), which is a member of the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a consortium of three think tanks that conducts monitoring and assessment of climate change policies in 39 countries and the European Union, found that the slight increase in Indonesia’s NDC target was still insufficient to prevent a global temperature rise of 1.5°C.

In Enhanced NDC, the target of reducing emissions by own efforts (unconditional) increases from 29% in the Updated NDC document to 31.89% in 2030, and with international assistance (conditional) increases from 41% to 43.2%. IESR and CAT view that Indonesia should be able to set even more ambitious targets, especially after the issuance of Presidential Regulation (Perpres) No 112 of 2022 concerning the Acceleration of Renewable Energy Development for the Provision of Electricity.

“Indonesia is still hesitant to set ambitious emission reduction targets and play in the safe zone. The reduction target set in the Enhanced NDC (E-NDC) is too easy to achieve because the reference is the business-as-usual emission increase projection in 2030. The emission reduction target should be based on the absolute emission level based on a certain year. To be in line with the 1.5°C ambition, emissions from the energy sector in 2030 must be equivalent to the level of emissions from the energy sector in 2010,” said Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR, at the launch of the results of the CAT assessment of Indonesia’s climate action and policies.

To achieve significant emission reductions, Indonesia needs to carry out more ambitious mitigation in the sectors with dominant emitters, such as the energy sector, and the forest and land sector. Having abundant renewable energy potential, even up to more than 7 TW, Indonesia can utilize it as a source of energy with minimal emissions.

However, until 2021, the renewable energy mix in the energy system in Indonesia is still 11.5%. IESR views that several developments in international support and the government’s commitment to early retirement coal power plants will provide free space for the development of renewable energy so that it can achieve the target of 23% renewable energy in 2025, even reaching 40% in 2030. In the Deep Decarbonization of Indonesia Energy System study (2021), IESR concludes that by 2050, 100% utilization of renewable energy in Indonesia’s energy system is technically and economically feasible.

“Indonesia’s climate action status can be enhanced by ensuring that climate policies in this decade are implemented to fulfil a fair contribution based on global efforts (fair share). The NDC target with international assistance must also be consistent, at least with the optimal path with the lowest cost for the ambition of 1.5°C (global least cost pathways),” explained Delima Ramadhani, Coordinator of Climate Action Tracker, IESR.

According to her, the dominance of coal-fired power plants, which are currently around 61% of Indonesia’s energy system, needs to be significantly reduced to only 10% of coal-fired power plants that do not use carbon capture and storage technology (unabated coal-fired power plan) in 2030 and terminate their operations gradually until stop completely by 2040. For that, Indonesia must increase its climate commitments, and international assistance plays a major role in the implementation of the coal phase-out per the Paris Agreement.

Several funding mechanisms for ending coal operations have also been discussed and agreed upon by Indonesia, such as the Energy Transition Mechanism scheme and the Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JETP). IESR considers that, although it is still not aligned with the 1.5°C targets, the JETP agreement is a step forward in the energy transition in Indonesia. The funding commitment of USD 20 billion is not enough to achieve decarbonization of the energy sector which requires at least a total investment of USD 135 billion by 2030.

“The portion of grants in JETP funding needs to be enlarged, which can be used to accelerate the strengthening of the energy transition ecosystem and project preparation. In addition, the next step after JETP has been agreed upon is the preparation of an investment plan that is carried out transparently and mainstreams the principles of justice in the energy transition by involving the participation of the community, local government and affected groups,” concluded Fabby.

Climate Action Tracker is an independent scientific analysis initiative that tracks countries’ climate actions and measures them against the globally agreed Paris Agreement goal of holding warming well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. CAT has provided an independent analysis of around 40 countries since 2009. CAT members include Climate Analytics, the New Climate Institute, and the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), which joined as partners in 2022.