Preparing for the Energy Transition in South Sumatra

Palembang, May 29, 2024 – The climate crisis has increased natural disasters, including floods, droughts, and more frequent extreme weather. Addressing the root cause, dependence on fossil fuels, particularly coal, is essential to mitigating these disasters. According to an IEA study, over 95% of global coal consumption occurs in countries committed to reducing emissions.

Marlistya Citraningrum, Program Manager for Sustainable Energy Access, Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), explained that fossil energy produces significant emissions. These emissions trap heat in the atmosphere, which causes the earth’s temperature to rise over time. Given these conditions, it is necessary to transition to renewable energy to replace fossil energy. 

“In the transition process, there will automatically be a shift in the use of fossil energy, including coal. This will impact coal-producing regions, considering that the coal sector drives the energy sector and the economy. This means that we need to anticipate the impact of the energy transition in the coal sector so as not to make people miserable,” said Marlistya in the Palembang Morning Dialogue on Energy Transition in Coal Producing Areas at RRI Pro1 Palembang on Wednesday (29/5/2024).

Marlistya emphasized that when encouraging energy transition in coal-producing areas, diversification and transformation of the economy are also necessary to anticipate the social and economic impacts of the coal industry’s decline. According to IESR’s study, Marlistya confidently stated that the leading sector in Muara Enim Regency, South Sumatra, is accommodation and food services, demonstrating superior performance compared to surrounding areas and playing a pivotal role in encouraging economic transformation.

“When planning for energy transition, it is also inseparable from the renewable energy potential of a region. For example, the potential for renewable energy in South Sumatra is high, especially biomass, because many agricultural and plantation wastes can be utilized. For example, the utilization of rice husks to generate electricity, so no rice husk waste can potentially disturb the environment,” Marlistya said. 

In addition, Marlistya mentioned solar energy is also a potential renewable energy to be utilized in South Sumatra because solar power plants (solar PV) are easy to install. Large-scale solar PV (above 10 MW) requires a large area of land. However, there are also solar PV that do not require large areas of land, such as rooftop solar PV with a capacity of several kWp to as small as a table lamp and power bank. 

Aryansyah, Head of the Energy Division, Energy and Mineral Resources Agency (ESDM) of South Sumatra Province, said that around 20 percent of local revenue in South Sumatra depends on the coal sector, so the implementation of energy transition needs to be done carefully. Aryansyah stated that the community’s right to energy is also its right. For this reason, the delivery to the community must also be done clearly so as not to cause panic.

“To socialize this energy transition, the government also collaborates with non-governmental institutions such as IESR through the Jelajah Energi South Sumatra program held some time ago. We invite young people, academics, and journalists to see renewable energy plants firsthand. We also collaborate with incoming investors to encourage the utilization of renewable energy. Based on data from the Energy and Mineral Resources Office of South Sumatra, South Sumatra Province has the technical potential for renewable energy reaching 21,032 MW,” said Aryansyah.

Looking Closer to the Renewable Energy Development in the Industrial and Community Sectors in Central Java

Central Java, November 11, 2022 –  The Central Java provincial government is committed to supporting and encouraging renewable energy development from the industrial sector to the community level. It can be seen in several companies and villages implementing renewable energy in their environment. Renewable energy is generated from natural processes that are continuously replenished. Renewable energy includes solar, geothermal heat, wind, tides, water, and biomass. 

The Central Java Energy and Mineral Resources Department and the Institute for Essential Service Reform (IESR) held the Central Java Energy Exploration for two days, November 10 and November 11, 2022, with the theme “Energy Transition to Build an Environmentally Friendly and Sustainable Industry.” Participants visited two companies and villages implementing renewable energy on the second day, PT. Sarihusada Generasi Mahardhika – Prambanan Factory, PT. Tirta Investama-Klaten Aqua Factory, and Ngesrep Balong Kendal Village PLTMH.

Utilization of Rice Husk as Energy

Sarihusada Generasi Mahardhika – Prambanan Factory inaugurated the construction of a rice husk-fired Biomass Boiler in June 2022. The biomass boiler will use 10,500 tons of rice husk annually and can produce up to 6 tons of steam per hour. With this ability, it’s no wonder this rice husk-fired industrial biomass boiler is claimed to be the first in Central Java.

Rice husk is an agricultural waste sourced from several areas in Central Java Province, including the surrounding agricultural land within this Biomass boiler facility, which is one of the most significant contributors to rice production nationally. Joko Yulianto, Plant Manager of Sarihusada Prambanan Factory, stated that the biomass boiler operated by Sarihusada could reduce carbon emissions by 8,300 tons of CO2 or the equivalent of carbon emissions absorbed through planting 120,000 trees. It also reduces the carbon footprint generated from the production process at the Prambanan Factory by up to 32%.

“Biomass boilers are an alternative to environmentally friendly technology. The energy produced comes from natural renewable sources. In the form of biological elements such as dead organisms or living plants, “explained Joko Yulianto.

The IESR Study 2021 assesses the potential for biomass in Indonesia to reach around 30.73 GW, but the efficiency is still in the range of 20-35 percent. The use of biomass in the industrial sector is becoming increasingly popular with the emergence of sustainable business targets. Therefore it must ensure a reliable supply chain to ensure the availability of biomass sources. Biomass feedstocks include crop residues and other plantation product wastes such as oil palm, coconut, and sugarcane.

Solar Power Plants in the AQUA factory in Klaten

Meanwhile, PT. Tirta Investama-Aqua Factory, Klaten, inaugurated a rooftop solar power plant (PLTS atap) in 2020. The rooftop solar PV installed at the AQUA factory in Klaten consists of 8,340 modules of solar panels in four roof buildings covering an area of ​​16,550m2, with a peak power of around 350 watts per unit.

“This solar power plants can generate 4 GWh (Gigawatt hour) electricity per year which can supply 15-20% of electricity needs for operations while reducing 3,340 tons of carbon emissions per year. It was built starting in August 2019 and required 187,200 working hours carried out by 130 workers with zero accidents,” said I Ketut Muwaranata, Plant Director AQUA Klaten. 

Based on the latest IESR report entitled Indonesia Solar Energy Outlook 2023, the industrial and commercial sectors are the biggest drivers of solar power plant use, reaching up to 23 MWp in October 2022. In addition to sustainable business targets, especially for companies that are members of the RE100 coalition, renewable energy also reduces production costs. Innovative financing schemes, such as the zero-CAPEX offered by many solar PV developers, increase the attractiveness of rooftop PV mini-grid for industrial customers.

In the last three years, the growth of rooftop solar PV users in the industrial sector has increased, and when the 10 to 15 percent limit of capacity currently imposed by PLN continues, this trend will change and even decrease. This is unfortunate and does not support the various energy transition commitments from the government and companies, who cooperate in realizing Indonesia’s net zero emission.

PLTMH Lights Ngesrepbalong Villages’s Road

Based on the 2021 IESR study, the technical potential for micro-mini hydropower in Indonesia reaches 28.1 GW in all Indonesian provinces. In Central Java, the technical potential of micro-mini hydropower comes to 730.3 MW. If this potential is utilized optimally, it will increase the productivity of rural communities, thereby encouraging access to quality and affordable energy and improving the economy and people’s welfare.

The Micro Hydro Power Plant (PLTMH), Ngesrepbalong Village, Kendal Regency, was developed by the youth around 2020 and used for electricity at the Pucue Kendal Coffee shop, which is located on the northern slope of Mount Ungaran. In the process, the village youth got the state-owned company, Indonesia Power, to look at and help their businesses realize independent energy.

The PLTMH in Ngesrepbalong Village, Kendal Regency, has a capacity of around 1,000 watts and can turn on dozens of lights to illuminate the 200-meter road to the coffee shop and turn on the coffee processing equipment in the shop.

The Central Java Energy Exploration event was held to raise the issue of energy transition in Central Java based on the green industry and the Climate Village program. It also disseminates information regarding the urgency of the energy transition to the public, increasing exposure to the green industry and the Climate Village program in Central Java.