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.

Indonesia Faces Hot Temperature: Health Threats and the Urgency of Climate Crisis Mitigation

Cuaca Panas di Indonesia
Cuaca Panas di Indonesia
Indonesia Faces Hot Temperature. Dok Freepik

Jakarta, May 22, 2024 – Indonesia recently experienced a hot air phenomenon. The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) confirmed this was not a heatwave. However, Climate Action Tracker (CAT) data shows that current policies worldwide will lead to a warming of around 2.7°C above pre-industrial levels. This underscores the urgent need for climate crisis mitigation efforts in all countries.

Wira A Swadana, Program Manager of Green Economy, Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), explained, citing CAT data, climate actions and policies for emission reduction in Indonesia are categorized as critically insufficient. This means the government’s efforts to reduce global warming are still far from limiting the Earth’s temperature below 1.5˚C in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

“The CAT study also shows two reasons for Indonesia’s low rating. First, the increase in coal burning for coal-fired power plants (CFPPs) operating in 2022 resulted in Indonesia’s emissions increasing by about 21% within a year. Second, power plants operating outside PT PLN’s plans and networks are often called captive power plants, which supply electricity to many factories,” said Wira in X Space, entitledHot Weather, What Can We Do?” on Wednesday (22/4/2024). 

Furthermore, Wira mentioned that a temperature rise of 1.5˚ to 2˚C could change much of life on Earth. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) study found that when the temperature increases by 1.5°C, nearly 14 percent of the world’s population will be exposed to severe heat waves. However, if there is a 2°C increase, 37 percent of the world’s population will be affected by severe heat waves. Due to this, Wira emphasized the need for the Government of Indonesia to enhance its commitment to mitigating and adapting to the climate crisis.

“Unfortunately, this commitment has not been maximized. This can be seen from the Government, through the National Energy Council (DEN), changing the renewable energy mix target in 2025 to 17-19%, which is lower than the previous target of 23%. This move sends the wrong signal to the private sector looking to invest in renewable energy in Indonesia, for example. In addition, the government also needs to look at funding commitments because Indonesia’s achievement to date has not exceeded 60%,” said Wira. 

Wira emphasized the need for cooperation among various parties, including the executive, legislative, and private sectors, to promote the use of renewable energy. Several studies have demonstrated Indonesia’s significant potential for renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, bioenergy, and geothermal.

Meanwhile, Clarissa Magdalena, Policy and Advocacy Manager, Center for Indonesia’s Strategic Development Initiatives (CISDI), emphasized that the hot weather causes humans to sweat more quickly, leading to a higher risk of prickly heat and itching. If the body cannot adapt to the heat, its internal temperature will rise to match the environmental temperature, resulting in fatigue, headaches, and nausea.

“The hot temperature phenomenon has a severe impact on the health of vulnerable people, such as the elderly, pregnant women, and children, due to dehydration. In these vulnerable groups, the hot weather can cause heat stroke, an emergency medical condition when the body temperature rises above 40 degrees Celsius. Symptoms of heatstroke include confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness,” said Clarissa. 

Clarissa suggests that vulnerable groups consume at least eight glasses or two liters of water daily to minimize the impact. To replenish body fluids, they should eat fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, melon, spinach, and cucumber. It’s essential to avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine as they can worsen dehydration.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Emissions are not Small

Dekarbonisasi emisi UKM

Jakarta, 14 March 2024 – The industrial sector has become the backbone of the Indonesian economy. Not only large industries, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are also the driving force of the national economy, including creating employment opportunities and contributing 60.5% to GDP.

However, this economic contribution figure is also accompanied by large, haunting emissions. Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform, in his opening remarks for the Webinar on Decarbonization Opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises in Indonesia and Learning from Global Experience, said that currently emissions from the SME industrial sector in 2023 are 216 million tons of CO2e.

“This figure is equivalent to one third of national industrial sector emissions. So, we need to seriously strive to decarbonize the SMEs industry because by prioritizing the sustainability aspect, SMEs will level up,” said Fabby.

As much as 95% of the SME sector’s emissions come from burning fossil fuels, the remaining 5% from burning waste. Large economic contributions need to be anticipated as a result of emissions output. If significant steps are not taken to reduce SME sector emissions, there is a possibility that SME emissions will increase in the future.

Abyan Hilmy Yafi, IESR Energy Data Analyst, explained in a survey carried out by IESR on 1000 SMEs throughout Indonesia that to start decarbonizing the SME industry there are several approaches from increasing understanding to technical solutions such as switching technology.

“For cross-sectors, there is a need to increase the understanding of SMEs about energy consumption and the emissions they emit. Active outreach is also needed to promote renewable energy. By sectoral approach, there are several technical recommendations such as the use of electric boilers in the textile and apparel industry,” he explained.

Bo Shen, Energy Environmental Policy Research, LBNL explained that globally, challenges to decarbonizing the SME industry include gaps in the knowledge of SME owners or managers regarding emissions, energy, or furthermore climate change and its relevance to their business.

“When SMEs already have sufficient knowledge and awareness to carry out decarbonization or reduce emissions from their business, finance becomes the next obstacle. The current upfront costs for, for example, looking for technology vendors or energy service providers (Energy Service Company – ESCO), are still quite high for the financial scale of SMEs,” explained Bo Shen.

Each country will use a different approach to encourage the decarbonization of their SMEs. In the United States, for example, governments are collaborating with universities to build industrial assessment centers.

“Apart from being useful for decarbonizing the SMEs industry, this approach also prepares skilled workers who have direct training opportunities in the SME industry,” explained Bo Shen.

Bo also added an interesting case from China which formed an initiative called Green Growth Together (GGT). This initiative encourages decarbonization of SMEs that are part of established product supply chains.

The established brands they supply require their entire supply chain network to implement emission reduction or decarbonization practices. This demand also comes with required financial assistance or technical assistance.

Ahmad Taufik from the Green Industry Center of the Ministry of Industry (Kemenperin) stated that Indonesian is currently experiencing challenges in the industrial sector. The contribution of the industrial sector to GDP continues to decline.

“Structurally, we are still continuing to improve various things, from industrial development, SME development, to ensuring the availability of environmentally friendly jobs (green jobs) and professional staff (green professionals),” said Taufik.

Half-hearted Indonesian Climate Policy and Action

Jakarta, 30 January 2024 – The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has declared 2023 as the hottest year. Historical records show that the earth’s temperature continues to increase from year to year. To keep the earth’s temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees, experts have recommended ensuring the world reaches peak global emissions in 2030 and must fall in the following years.

The use of fossil energy is one of the largest contributors to emissions in the world. Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), Fabby Tumiwa, said that Indonesia needs measurable and real action for transitioning away from fossil energy.

“Based on the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) assessment, Indonesia has not shown a reduction in emissions, in fact it will experience an increase in emissions in 2022 and one of the causes is an increase in coal consumption used for down streaming. Indonesia’s rating even dropped from ‘highly insufficient’ to ‘critically insufficient’. The most important thing is real steps to accelerate the transition in this decade,” emphasized Fabby.

Indonesia, as one of the top 10 emitting countries in the world, actually received a bad record with Indonesia’s climate ranking dropping to the lowest level according to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) assessment framework.

Delima Ramadhani, IESR Climate Policy Project Coordinator, said at the launch of the Climate Action Tracker report that throughout 2023, Indonesia has delivered a number of initiatives and policies that normatively support the acceleration of the energy transition, but this does not have implications for efforts to reduce emissions.

“Indonesia’s rating dropped from ‘highly insufficient’ to ‘critically insufficient’. ‘Critically insufficient’ means that if countries have climate commitments like Indonesia, the rate of global warming will be at the level of 4 degrees,” said Delima.

Mustaba Ari Suryoko, Intermediate Policy Analyst, Coordinator of the Aneka EBT Program Preparation Working Group, responded that the assessment of emissions reduction efforts is a reminder for all parties to continue working to achieve emissions reduction targets.

“Achievement number figures are an accumulation of various variables, so we hope that in planning we will not only determine ambitious targets but also make efforts to achieve them,” he said.

Anna Amalia, Functional Intermediate Planner at the Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas), said that to pursue Indonesia’s more ambitious climate targets there are several opportunities.

“The government is starting to move progressively, in the next 20 years we will have a RPJP (National Long Term Development Plan-ed) which focuses on reducing GHG emissions, how we encourage economic growth through low emission corridors and of course other policies will follow,” Anna said.

The annual Climate Transparency report also includes an Implementation Check Report to see the effectiveness of climate policy implementation.

Akbar Bagaskara, IESR’s Power Sector Analyst, explained that Indonesia’s electricity sector is in the medium category because the implementation of policies that support the transition in the electricity sector has not been effective.

“Historically, in the last five years we never achieved our annual renewable energy target. We need to strengthen policies to strengthen Indonesia’s renewable energy enabling environment, as well as involving various groups in the planning, procurement and evaluation processes,” explained Akbar.

Yosi Amelia, Forest & Climate Program Officer, Yayasan Madani Berkelanjutan, highlighted the lack of synchronization of strategies across ministries and government agencies which created unclear documents that should be treated as guidelines.

“There are inconsistencies between documents, for example regarding Indonesia’s deforestation quota. In the FOLU Net Sink 2030 strategy, there are no longer deforestation quotas, while the E-NDC still provides deforestation quotas,” said Yosi.

Strengthening the Government’s Commitment in Mitigating Climate Change

Jakarta, 15 December 2023 – The Indonesian government continues to improve in terms of strengthening its commitment to climate change mitigation. Since starting to aggressively commit to climate mitigation in 2021, the Indonesian Government has continued to carry out follow-up actions through various assessments of funding commitments and creating decarbonization roadmaps in each sector.

Nurcahyanto, Policy Analyst for the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR), said at the launch of the Indonesia Energy Transition Outlook (IETO) 2024 report organized by the Institute for Essential Services Reform that one of the efforts currently being carried out by the government through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources is to carry out revision of the National Energy Policy (KEN). It is hoped that the results of the revised KEN will be more relevant to Indonesia’s current efforts to carry out comprehensive decarbonization, especially in the electricity sector.

“Target revision (KEN) is only a method based on numbers, but from an implementation perspective it must be supported by regulations and we need to optimize it. For example, in carrying out early retirement for PLTUs, a road map needs to be prepared, as well as consolidation with related ministries/institutions,” he said.

The issuance of Presidential Decree 112/2022 is one of the guiding documents for the decarbonization of Indonesia’s electricity sector, with the main point being to accelerate the cessation of coal-fired power plants.

August Axel Zacharie, Head of Energy Cooperation, Danish Embassy, said that in the global context, Indonesia’s position as a developing country (emerging economy) is an investment attraction in itself, but Indonesia needs to prepare a supportive ecosystem.

“Investment needs for the energy transition, which reach approximately 1 trillion USD until 2050, must be seen as not just building infrastructure, but within these cost requirements there are community aspects, job transition, quality of life, and other non-physical aspects,” added August.

Still related to the high need for investment in renewable energy, and the government’s obligation to guarantee energy security, the Indonesian Government provides energy subsidies. However, this policy is not a sustainable policy.

Evita Herawati Legowo, PYC Senior Fellow, stated that it is necessary to think about a more targeted method for providing energy subsidies.

“There needs to be involvement of all parties in this matter, not just collaboration but a clear division of tasks as to who does what, starting from industry, research, energy, as well as investors,” said Evita.

The Indonesian Government’s commitment to decarbonization is a binding guideline. Delivered by Unggul Priyanto, Main Expert Engineer, BRIN, especially after 2060, all energy sources must come from clean energy sources.

“(The use-ed) LNG, or natural gas, is one option during the transition. But after 2060, like it or not, it has to be replaced with a truly clean (energy source-ed),” he said.

Jakarta Post | Indonesia’s Call for Support in COP28 shows ‘No New’ Commitment

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s call for more support from rich countries for their developing counterparts in tackling the climate crisis has left environmentalists unimpressed, who criticize the speech for “giving nothing new” despite global putting pressure on countries to do more to avoid the worst impacts of the crisis.

Read more on Jakarta Post.

Three Principles of Equity in Indonesia’s Energy Transformation

Marlistya Citraningrum, Manajer Program Akses Energi Berkelanjutan dalam Sustainability Media Academy pada Kamis (30/11).

Jakarta, November 30, 2023 – Indonesia, like many other countries, faces a critical turning point amid the global climate crisis. As a nation with abundant energy resources, the transition towards renewable energy is urgently necessary. However, this shift must prioritize fairness and equality for all. The energy transition must not solely focus on technical aspects but also consider the social, economic, and moral impacts on the affected communities. In Indonesia, this transition is not just a technical step, but also a moral obligation to ensure that every individual has equal rights in this change.

“We must examine three principles to achieve justice in the energy transition. The first principle is justice at the local level, where we need to take a closer look at which parties directly benefit from and are affected by the energy transition at the local level. For example, we need to assess whether the community around the mine is reaping any benefits from the energy transition,” said Marlistya Citraningrum,  Program Manager of Sustainable Energy Access, at the Sustainability Media Academy on Thursday (30/11).

Furthermore, Marlistya Citraningrum mentioned another principle from the authority perspective. This means that the community needs to see how the local government authority manages the transition. This includes the policies and regulations implemented to ensure fairness for all parties involved. Long-term justice must also be considered, which consists of the community’s participation in managing the future once the mining industry ends. During this time, the community’s welfare must be considered while ensuring the continuity of the economy.

During the energy transition process, it’s crucial to consider the availability of affordable, sustainable, and reliable energy. The instability in energy supply can hinder the achievement of sustainable development goals. Hence, it’s essential to establish a dependable energy system by investing in energy storage technologies, reliable distribution networks, and diversification of energy resources.

“To achieve a successful energy transition, it is crucial for the government, private sector, and communities to work together collaboratively. Education and community engagement programs can enhance people’s understanding of the significance of affordable, sustainable, and dependable energy. By enabling communities to participate in this transformation actively, positive outcomes can be experienced locally,” Marlistya said. 

Marlistya also emphasized that the government must involve more stakeholders, including indigenous peoples, women, youth, and other marginalized groups, in the planning and decision-making processes. This will ensure that all groups are treated equally and included in the opportunities created by the just transition. Social inclusion is also important to ensure that vulnerable groups have fair access to these opportunities.

“In addition to evidence-based policies, equitable energy principles should be applied through the GEDSI approach that emphasizes empathy and involvement in decision-making,” said Marlistya.

Engaging the Youth Generation on Energy Transition Issues

press release

Jakarta, November 24, 2023 – The impact of the climate crisis is increasingly felt as the earth’s temperature rises. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report states that the earth’s temperature has increased by 1.1°C in 2011-2020 compared to 1850-1900. Serious mitigation and climate action efforts must be carried out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep temperatures from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius. One is transitioning energy from carbon-intensive energy, such as coal-fired energy, to renewable energy.

The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) believes that the energy transition process needs to involve future generations, especially children and young people. Young people have a crucial role in ensuring sustainable development can run amid the challenges of climate change. They will also build a future that prioritizes using more environmentally friendly resources and economic growth that prioritizes environmental sustainability.

Farah Vianda, Coordinator of Sustainable Financing, IESR, at the Road to Youth Climate Conference (23/11), said that reducing fossil energy use requires government policy. Still, young people can also take individual actions that impact reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Every individual, especially children and young people, can be involved in taking concrete steps to mitigate the climate crisis. One of the main steps is to change daily habits, from using electricity and freon more wisely to reducing dependence on motor vehicles and buying products wisely. With these simple steps, young people can make a significant positive impact in mitigating the climate crisis,” said Farah.

Farah explained that the energy transition involves a fundamental shift in how we produce and consume energy. According to her, a strong foundation for the earth’s sustainability will be formed by emphasizing the use of more environmentally friendly resources. It is about technology and involves understanding and active participation from children and young people as future agents of change.

Rahmat Jaya Eka Syahputra, Program Officer of Energy Transformation, IESR, highlighted energy efficiency in energy transition by reducing unnecessary energy consumption. According to him, a strong understanding of carbon emission reduction will form the habit of calculating emissions and lead to low-carbon daily activities.

“Energy efficiency not only provides environmental benefits by reducing greenhouse gas emissions but can also provide economic benefits by saving individual energy costs. By actively participating through energy efficiency measures, individuals have taken part in their portion in addressing climate issues,” Rahmat explained.