Making Room for Renewable Energy

Jakarta, 15 June 2022 – Indonesia has committed to no longer build coal except those already in the contract process. At COP 26, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources said that Indonesia is ready to retire 9.2 GW of coal-fired power plants if there is international assistance. The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources is targeting old power plants whose efficiency has decreased. To pursue the 23% energy mix by 2025, apart from executing the plan to add renewable energy capacity in the RUPTL, at least 18 GW of solar energy is still needed until 2025 to meet the 23% renewable energy target in the national energy mix.

Another alternative that can be taken is to integrate renewables into the current electricity system by modifying the CFPP to be more flexible. In the latest IESR’s report, entitled Flexible Thermal Power Plant: An Analysis of Operating Coal-Fired Power Plants Flexibly to Enable the High-Level Variable Renewables in Indonesia’s Power System, it is explained that flexible CFPP’s operations can be carried out in Indonesia by retrofitting the CFPP unit first.

The retrofitting process will make the CFPP operation more flexible by reducing the minimum load. This is done to reduce operational costs that arise due to the increase in the start-up/shutdown process as a consequence of the increase in renewable energy variables in the grid. Two countries that have carried out CFPP operations flexibly are Germany and India.

“In Germany the CFPPs being retrofitted are the old ones. One of the strategies taken is to provide incentives for thermal power plants. Meanwhile in India, flexible CFPP operations are still in the pilot project stage, and currently preparing market policy instruments like what has been done in Germany,” explained Raditya Wiranegara, author of the Flexible Thermal Power Plant report.

Raditya added that the cost of generating flexible coal power plants is lower than gas turbine or combine cycle so that it can be considered as an option for generating power in the transition period efficiently and making room for renewable energy.

Bayu Nugroho, Director of Electrical Engineering and Environment, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, said that it is possible to operate this flexible power plant in Indonesia, but some preparations need to be made beforehand.

“To achieve NZE 2060 we have to make various efforts. One of them that the government is currently preparing is a carbon tax mechanism. This scheme can also be done, we (Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources) need to mix everything so that it can run optimally,” explained Bayu in the panel discussion during the report launch.

Arief Sugianto, VP of PLN’s RUPTL Control, stated a number of prerequisites if we want to make the coal fleet in Indonesia operate flexibly.

“First we need to think about what incentives will be given to the CFPP which will be operated flexibly, and who will bear the subsidy,” he said.

Arief added, in the context of PLN, which uses a take or pay scheme in buying and selling electricity with an IPP, it is rather difficult to directly implement this flexible PLTU operation because the initial retrofit costs will burden the government or customers.

With the current state of coal still dominating electricity generation in Indonesia, there are several steps the government can take to increase the renewable energy mix, including reducing coal capacity and operating CFPP flexibly.

“We see that there are 5 GW of old coal capacity (above 35 years) as low-hanging fruit that can be retired immediately, because its efficiency has decreased and is full of emissions,” explained Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR.

Fabby added that operating the CFPP flexibly can open up some space for renewable energy to enter the grid.

Dimitri Pescia, Program Lead Southeast Asia, Agora Energiewende, reminded that flexible coal power plants are not a clean energy source even though they may produce less emissions than ordinary coal power plants.

“Flexible power plant is not a clean energy source, but it provides space for renewables to be  integrated into the grid efficiently, so it can be used as a temporary solution to transition to a renewable energy system,” said Dimitri.

Dimitri further explained that the technology used in flexible CFPP operation is quite complex and still produces emissions, so the carbon price instrument is an important element to maintain a balance and we must immediately switch to a renewable energy system.

IESR: The Use of Rooftop PV in the Business Sector Brings Three Benefits at Once

Semarang, June 14, 2022 – The growing popularity of the climate change issue and environmental sustainability is slowly affecting people’s consumption and spending patterns in various fields from household needs to tourism. A global survey conducted by The Economist shows an increase in spending on sustainable products from year to year from 2016 – 2020. Not only about the product materials/materials that are used as a reference, but also the emissions generated during production. Energy use is a crucial factor that determines the sustainability of a product/service.

Handriyanti Diah Puspitarini, a senior researcher at the Institute for Essential Services Reform, explained that if a business entity uses renewable energy such as rooftop solar panels, there will be three benefits at the same time.

“There are three benefits that can be obtained simultaneously by using rooftop PV, namely energy efficiency, increased reputation (branding) through sustainable business practices, and operational cost savings, which means that the profit obtained will be maximized,” explained Handriyanti.

Handriyanti continued, Indonesia has enormous solar energy potential reaching more than 7,000 GW. In Central Java itself, there is a market potential of 9.8% early followers and early adopters in the business and commercial sectors.

“This group (early followers and early adopters) is a group who already has basic information about rooftop PV, and wants to install it but still needs to be given more comprehensive information and given more attractive financing options such as installment schemes with long tenors and competitive interest,” she said.

Head of the Central Java Energy and Mineral Resources Office, Sujarwanto Dwiatmoko, expressed his support for the business, tourism agency and hotels that are committed to using clean energy, reducing water usage and doing energy efficiency systematically.

“This support and appreciation will be in the form of a certificate that we will hand over to businesses that systematically perform resource efficiency (energy and water) as well as those who install rooftop PV or use renewable energy,” he explained.

Local supermarket network, Aneka Jaya, has seen electricity bill savings of 50-60% per month after installing a rooftop solar power plant in one of its self-service units.

“Due to the pandemic, we have to find ways to be more efficient, one of which is reducing electricity bills. After we found out about PV rooftop, we started surveys and looking for vendors,” explained Indaru Imam Susilo, manager of Aneka Jaya Kalipancur.

Imam continued that his party took a performance-based renting financing scheme in which he did not issue an initial investment, but paid monthly based on the energy produced for 15 years (according to the agreed contract).

Cahyo Danu Sukmo, Sub Coordinator of Tourism Business Development, Youth, Sports and Tourism Office of Central Java Province, said that currently the tourism sector, especially in Central Java, is moving towards sustainable tourism, means the tourism activity is not exploitative and prioritizes the empowerment of local communities.

“We are also starting to focus on developing tourist villages with green tourism guidelines, including following the energy supply guidelines,” explained Cahyo.

The government through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources keeps encouraging the use of renewable energy, especially rooftop PV in various sectors. Solar energy has even been included in the national strategic program to pursue the renewable energy mix target of 23% by 2025.

“One of our supports is through the latest policy, namely the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Regulation No. 26/2021 which regulates PLN customers who install rooftop PV,” said Mustaba Ari Suryoko, Coordinator of Business Supervision Services for Various New Energy and Renewable Energy, Directorate General of EBTKE, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources.

Although until now the implementation of the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Decree 26/2021 is still facing obstacles, Mustaba stated that his party continues to evaluate and find a win-win solution so that the regulation can be implemented.

Mustaba also stated that his party is collaborating with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to provide incentives for rooftop PV new customers through Sustainable Energy Funds (SEF) grants.

Yovi Rahmawati, from UNDP, explained that this grant is valid for new rooftop PV customers, who start installing in November 2021.

“This program itself is still running until November 2022, the application is submitted via the website and the team will verify it,” said Yovi.

C20 Indonesia Urge for a Just Energy Transition

Jakarta, 30 June 2022 – Energy transition is one of the priority issues of Indonesia’s 2022 G20 presidency. This role as the leader of the G20 countries is certainly a strategic momentum for Indonesia to show its commitment to the energy transition. The Paris Agreement in 2015 agreed to limit the earth’s temperature increase to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, even trying to keep it at the level of 1.5 degrees. For this reason, all parties must reduce their emissions from high-emission sectors such as energy and achieve carbon neutral status by the middle of this century.

To explore various perspectives on energy transition, the Civil 20 engagement group held a workshop entitled “Making a Just Energy Transition for All” inviting other engagement groups i.e: Think 20 (T20), Science 20 (S20) and Business 20 (B20). Also present as a panelist, Widhyawan Prawiraatmadja, former governor of Indonesia for OPEC.

From the ongoing discussion, all the speakers agreed to put the human aspect as the axis of the energy transition. Vivian Sunwoo Lee, International Coordinator of C20, said that C20 continues to urge the importance of immediately shifting from fossil-based energy systems to renewable energy-based energy systems.

“There are a number of risks, especially from a financial and economic perspective, from fossil energy infrastructure that has the potential to become a stranded asset if we don’t hurry to make the energy transition,” he said. Vivian also highlighted the large fossil energy subsidies that are still being provided by the G20 countries.

Professor Yunita Winarto, co-chair of Task Force 5 S20 stated the importance of an interdisciplinary approach in planning and implementing energy transitions.

“The interdisciplinary approach will shift the paradigm from exploitative-extractive to environmentally friendly-resilient, from a linear economy to a circular economy, and from good governance to proper governance. That way, a balance will undoubtedly be created according to the principles of the planet, people, & prosperity for all,” Yunita explained.

Moekti H. Soejachmoen, Lead co-chair of Task Force 3 T20, explained the importance of the carbon economic value instrument in the context of energy transition.

“The growth in energy demand will definitely continue to grow. It is inevitable, so we have to look for various ways to fulfill this energy need, but on the other hand our need to reduce emissions is also achieved. So this carbon economic value instrument is important,” explained Moekti.

Moekti also added that it was important for Indonesia to ensure that the issues pushed in this year’s G20 presidency would still be discussed in the following years. Given the energy transition is a long process and takes years.

The energy transition will completely change the face of Indonesia’s energy sector. Oki Muraza, Policy Manager of the Task Force Energy Sustainability and Climate, B20, explained that the affordability factor should be one of the main considerations in making the energy transition.

“We have to ensure that the affordability factor of energy during this transition process can be maintained. In addition, we also need to pay attention to people who are currently working in the hydrocarbon sector, how they can be trained so they don’t lose their jobs in the energy transition,” explained Oki.

Widhyawan Prawiraatmadja reminded that it is necessary to harmonize perceptions, rules and policies at the ministry level related to energy transition and the achievement of Indonesia’s commitments in the international level such as NDC. This is in addition to accelerating the achievement of national and international targets, as well as to give the same signal to investors.

“If the signals sent to investors are mixed, the perception of investors is that the risk of investing in Indonesia is high, and it is not impossible to make them reconsider investing,” said Widhyawan.

South Korea Supports Indonesia to Reach Its Renewable Energy Target

Jakarta, 19 May 2022 Renewable energy is seen as a quick win to secure a global temperature rise of no more than 2 degrees Celsius, according to the Paris Agreement. Indonesia whose emission reduction targets 29% on self-effort and 41% by international assistance by 2030 is actively seeking a more effective way to secure its target. The remaining time to achieve the target is only around 8 years. Yayan Mulyana from the Foreign Policy Strategy Agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Indonesia admitted that it’s hard but Indonesia is optimistic to achieve it.

Gandi Sulistiyanto, Indonesian Ambassador for South Korea, during his keynote speech in the webinar “Enhancing Investments from South Korea for Renewable Energy Development in Indonesia” hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic Indonesia on Thursday, 19 May 2022, said that both countries develop momentum and mutual interest in renewable energy investment. 

“Indonesia embassy in Seoul ready to support the Government’s target to have 23% of renewables in 2025. Meanwhile, South Korea aims to have 35% renewable shares in 2040. Both countries are in intense communications to develop EV battery manufacturers to support EV ecosystems that start penetrating the Indonesia market,” Gandhi said.

He added that in accordance with sustainability and human development, his office focuses on four sectors i.e: human development, science and technology, sustainable finance development, and national energy security.

Fabby Tumiwa, the Executive Director of IESR said that energy transformation is the heart of climate change mitigation. 

“Energy consumption in Indonesia is projected to increase 7-8 times than the current rate as a consequence of massive electrification of transportation and other home appliances, we have a double consequence of the situation i.e to replace the current fossil energy with renewable and to fulfill the growing demand at the same time,” he said.

Indonesia’s LTS LCCR document projects that there will be rapid emission reduction after 2030 if power generation is supplied by renewable 43% by 2050. It tries to be translated into the current PLN’s RUPTL that shows the government’s eagerness to deploy more renewable energy in the power sector in Indonesia. A study has shown that Indonesia is technically feasible and economically viable to achieve zero emissions by 2050 using 100% renewable energy. 

“IESR Deep decarbonization of Indonesia’s energy system study presents a step by step roadmap to achieve net zero in 2050 covering transportation, power sector, and industry,” Fabby added. 

Solar, whose residential potential – reaches up to 655 GWp will be the backbone of the renewable-based energy system.

Minho Kim, Komipo Korea State-Owned Company said that as a businessman, his company sees Indonesia as a potential market as well as a partner for renewable energy considering the abundant resources available. 

“Komipo already has operations in Indonesia for geothermal and hydropower projects. Later on, we plan to develop green hydrogen/ammonia as well,” Minho said.

Minho added that the emergence of the carbon market makes renewables a new hot commodity because it is needed. “As more companies join the RE 100 initiatives, the demand for clean energy is higher, therefore providing clean energy is no longer an option but a must as it is what is needed by the industry and demanded by customers,” he concluded.

Showing Leadership in G20, Indonesia Needs to Increase Solar PV Development

JAKARTA, 20 April 2022 – Carrying the energy transition as the main topic of Indonesia’s presidency at the G20, Indonesia needs to show its leadership in pursuing a more massive renewable energy capacity, especially solar energy. Indonesia can also learn from the experiences of the G20 countries in encouraging the growth of solar energy and accelerating the spread of solar energy.

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Indonesia and the Institute of Essential Services Reform (IESR), in collaboration with BloombergNEF and the International Solar Alliance (ISA), held a workshop to take lessons from G20 countries in encouraging the application of solar power relevant to developing countries. The workshops were also not limited to policy frameworks, fiscal and financial instruments, market readiness, and human resource development.

Ali Izadi – Najafabadi, Head of Research APAC, BloombergNEF, expressed his optimism that Indonesia has the potential to accelerate the energy transition.

“Some analysts say Indonesia lags behind other G20 countries in renewable energy, especially solar power, but I believe Indonesia can catch up. Indonesia has many opportunities to reform policies or special regulatory measures focusing on improving the energy economy and the environment,” said Ali.

In line with Ali, Rohit Garde, Senior Associate for Solar Energy Financing at BloombergNEF, said that BloombergNEF measures state policies in the electricity sector and carbon policies. For example, Germany and England have 84% and 83%, respectively, which indicates that both countries have good procedures for PV mini-grid. Meanwhile, the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) of PV mini-grid in India, China, UAE, and Chile is the lowest due to high levels of solar radiation and large-scale PV mini-grid development. Meanwhile, the LCOE of PV mini-grid in Indonesia is the highest due to its small scale and high cost of capital.

“Indonesia must increase its ambitions by revising regulations and removing development barriers,” added Rohit Garde.

One of the important issues in Indonesia’s leadership in the G20 is the energy transition. Yudo Dwinanda Priadi, Expert Staff to the Minister for Strategic Planning at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, said that the power plant plan already has an Electric Power Supply Business Plan Electricity Supply Business Plan (RUPTL) 2021-2030. A greener RUPTL is a cornerstone of achieving zero carbon by 2060.

“Solar Power Plants (PLTS) have the largest optimization in Indonesia and will reach 4,680 MW by 2030. Therefore, solar energy has the most abundant potential. In addition, the cost continues to decline, and the rapid development of PV mini-grid technology has made solar power generation a priority. The development of rooftop PV mini-grid also includes better implementation and incentives for people who want to install rooftop PV mini-grid. The government has issued the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources No.26/2021, and the rooftop PV roadmap is in the process as a National Strategic Program (PSN),” said Yudo.

On the other hand, Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR and General Chair of the Indonesian Solar Energy Association (AESI), said solar energy development in Indonesia is relatively slow with several obstacles.

“In 2021, only 0.001 percent of its technical potential will be implemented. However, rooftop solar power generation has continued to increase in the last three years, and that is due to the support from government regulations. RUPTL 2021 is a signal to increase five times to 4.7 MW, and there are also other projects such as exports to Singapore, Riau Islands, and Batam. Therefore, this project has the potential for massive solar energy development,” said Fabby Tumiwa.

Fabby also added several reasons for the obstacles to the energy transition in Indonesia, such as the Domestic Component Level (TKDN).

“Problems in project development such as land and regulations on the Domestic Component Level (TKDN); existing projects require solar module devices from 40% to 60%, and this has not been met by industry in Indonesia and has not received financial assistance from the state; negotiations are quite long while other countries tend to be faster. The Vietnamese government has strong political will and commitment, regulation, implementation, and incentives for tariff policies related to net metering. What is also important is the policy certainty and transmission of the State Electricity Company (PLN),” said Fabby.

Kanaka Arifcandang Winoto, the Senior Business Developer from Mainstream Renewable Power, explained how Indonesia needs to accelerate to meet the renewable energy mix target of 23% in 2025.

“Indonesia is the largest energy consumer in ASEAN, accounting for almost 40 percent of ASEAN’s total energy use. With the significant potential of solar, geothermal, wind and hydropower resources, Indonesia is well-positioned to develop in a low-carbon energy system,” he said.

According to Kanaka, Indonesia is a key player in achieving 1.5℃, so cooperation with all stakeholders is needed to identify a national roadmap for realizing economic growth and climate security.

Dyah Roro Esti, Member of the DPR, Commission VII, explained that his party is open to public input, especially on renewable energy policies that are being discussed in the DPR RI.

 “Data from DEN, Indonesia must optimize 2.5 GW, and each area has potential, both solar and wind. Therefore, it is necessary to have the motivation and political will to cooperate with local governments in optimizing and realizing this potential. The House of Representatives (DPR) is working on the New Renewable Energy (EBT) Bill and will be open to suggestions. However, the EBT Bill (RUU) is still under discussion,” explained Dyah Roro.

On the other hand, regarding policies at the regional level, Ngurah Pasek, Head of the Sub-Division of Environment and Regional Development, Bappedalitbang Bali Province, added that Bali has implemented Perda 29 of 2020 concerning the General Plan of Regional Energy (RUED) whose derivative is Pergub 45 of 2019 about Bali Clean Energy.

“Installation to regencies and cities in Bali Province, which currently has reached 8.5 MW. The target of the Bali Provincial Government regarding budget refocusing is how the installation of solar rooftop solar panels in offices or companies can run well,” he said.

The development of rooftop solar power plants is also happening in Central Java. Nathan Setyawan, Sub-Coordinator of Natural Resources and Environment, Central Java Regional Development Planning Agency, explained some progress in supporting renewable energy in his area.

“Central Java is the only province that has developed and integrated economic recovery and the use of renewable energy. In 2021, we will encourage not only provincial governments but also regents and mayors and the private sector to implement rooftop solar power plants.”

He emphasized that increasing public awareness and support from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources would encourage the use of communal solar power plants in remote areas. In addition, Nathan hopes that the availability of affordable clean energy supporting technology will help develop the local renewable energy industry.

“Hopefully, there will be a mini silicon valley to develop new renewable energy-oriented industries,” he added.***

Looking for Funding Schemes and Readiness of Solar PV Project Development

Workshop Financing Solar Energy - Indonesia Solar Summit

Jakarta, 20 April 2022– The issue of financing is still one of the big obstacles in developing renewable energy such as rooftop solar power plants in Indonesia. There is a large gap between the government’s agenda to accelerate solar penetration and access to funding for both developer and household projects. Difficult access to funding can also be a challenge for the development of solar energy in Indonesia.

Enthusiasm to develop solar energy is growing rapidly in Indonesia. At the Indonesia Solar Summit 2022, at least 31 parties are committed to installing solar PV with a capacity of up to 2,300 MW. The availability of cheap financing mechanisms can support the achievement of these commitments.

Elvi Nasution, Director of Solutions Initiatives, explained that there is one financing scheme that is not widely available, namely project financing. Project financing is limited financing of a new project that will be carried out through the establishment of a new company (separate from the existing company). The project finance provider can be a bank or a special financial institution (special mission vehicle).

“Compared to Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, project financing in Indonesia is relatively expensive. The contributing factors include government guarantees, the amount of debt, and the structure of the electricity business which is currently monopolized by PLN, so developers often encounter difficulties because there is only one offtaker in Indonesia,” explained Elvi.

Jagjeet Shareen, Assistant Director of General International Solar Alliance, in the same forum saw the importance of the role of financial institutions such as banks to participate in accelerating solar penetration.

“Providing training to bank employees is important to make them understand the character of solar business and calculate the financing risk for it. The cost of installing solar PV  may still be relatively expensive, but it’s actually not that expensive because the cost of solar continues to decline,” he said.

Jagjeet shared India’s experience in providing massive training to bank employees which had a significant impact because the bank then became more familiar with PV rooftop projects, their risks and development opportunities.

Both Elvi and Jagjeet agreed that in order to accelerate the penetration of PV rooftop, synergies from various parties, such as financial institutions, need to study the financing structure based on the conditions and potential in each location.

PLN as the single offtaker in Indonesia also needs to transform its business model so that it is relevant to the current situation and in the future where renewable energy will have a larger portion. Especially for solar development, PLN needs to make regular auction plans and finalize the development plan (pipeline). Good and clear project planning will increase the confidence of investors and financial institutions to fund a PV rooftop project for instance.

Prospective users of rooftop solar power plants are more or less aware of the situation of developing solar energy in Indonesia, which still needs a lot of improvement. Erwin Kasim, one of the participants of the Financing Solar Energy Indonesia Solar Summit 2022 workshop, asked about the minimum subsidy for initial installation costs for households who want to install rooftop PV and what schemes can be considered to relieve potential PV rooftop customers.

The bank, as the party that is expected to provide a solution to this initial cost problem, emphasizes the government’s role in making policies that are friendly to all parties in the development of this rooftop solar power plant.

“The use of solar requires government intervention to create financing schemes, protect banks from repayment failures, and incentives for customers,” said a representative of Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) who attended the same forum.

The government’s role in issuing a customer-friendly rooftop PV  financing policy is highly expected. Because at this time, financing through the bank occurs because of a business-to-business agreement between the developer and the bank without any special policy from the government that regulates the financing of rooftop solar power plants by the bank.

Boosting Confidence for Solar Investors in Indonesia

Jakarta, 7 April 2022 – Located on the equator, Indonesia is blessed with abundant yet (unfortunately) untapped solar energy potentials. The Institute for Essentials Services Reform’s study titled, “Beyond 207 Gigawatts: Unleashing Indonesia’s Solar Potential” shows that based on land suitability there are 3 – 20 TWp solar potentials that may generate power up to 4,7 – 27 TWh annually. The huge potential is sadly not followed by proper utilization. The MEMR noted that until the end of 2021 total PV capacity in Indonesia is only around 200 MW. 

Fabby Tumiwa, the Chairman of Indonesia Solar Energy Association and the Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform, during the South Korea Renewable Energy Investment Forum, said that the solar market outlook looks promising especially since the end of 2021 when PLN announced its recent Business Plan (RUPTL) in which it gives spacious slot for renewable energy.

“Solar becomes government focus in RUPTL to reach the 23% RUEN target in 2025 as well the net-zero emissions in 2060 or sooner. Approaches on various types of PV i.e floating, and rooftop need to be done through the regulation improvement,” Fabby said.

Eka Satria, CEO of Medco Power Indonesia, shares his perspective on the current energy transition happening in Indonesia. He believes that the success of energy transition should be driven by policy. 

“Energy transition needs a different environment. We cannot just leave it to the market mechanism where people choose what kind of energy they want to have. Especially in the beginning, policy-driven action is needed,” Eka explained.

Eka added that the best practice in countries that have started the energy transition early is always initiated by the Government that sets up a policy to drive both energy providers and energy consumers to shift to renewable energy.

Byeongwoo Jeon, Managing Director of Global Business Department KEPCO KDN, shares his appreciation that renewable energy development in Indonesia is gaining traction yet a set of challenges still follow. 

“Land acquisition is our number one challenge. In the area where energy demand is high, we usually experience land shortages to install solar PV,” he said.

Jeon also highlighted the complex process to get financing for renewable energy projects. The current regulation such as the required local content and the process to get PPA (power purchase agreement)happening in the lengthy process makes renewable projects hard to get financing.

Fabby Tumiwa added that besides the PPA process that should be shortened, consistent regulation is also important to give investors and the business sector confidence in planting their capital in Indonesia’s renewable energy projects. 

“PLN must also implement the recent Ministerial Regulation number 26/2021 about rooftop solar customers to accelerate rooftop PV adoption,” he said.

The current MEMR’s regulation no 26/2021 about rooftop solar PV contains some improvements from the previous MEMR regulation no 49/2018 such as the 1:1 export-import tariffs, a longer reset period, and a shorter period to obtain approval for construction, but is not yet implemented by PLN though it is officially released by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources as per January 2022.

Sticks with Biofuel Policy

In recent years, the government has been aggressively encouraging the use of biofuel as one of the main alternatives to fuel oil. However, many constraints and impacts on the economic, social, and environmental side arise in this biofuel use program.

The world’s biggest palm oil producer, and exporter, Indonesia, will push ahead with its ambitious biodiesel program even as prices of tropical oil have soared, which could increase the costs of producing biofuel. The B30 program stipulates fossil fuels must be blended with 30% palm oil. The mandate is aimed at soaking up bulging supplies in the top grower. But palm’s premium over gasoil has ballooned to record levels, driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that has tightened global cooking oil supplies.

“We haven’t discussed the evaluated B30 program because it is still running as planned,” Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) said. However, he said that the government could monitor crude palm oil and petroleum prices closely and will prepare options to anticipate any development without elaborating on those plans.

He continued that the problem arises because there are B40 mandates that have been postponed many times, rumors of the B40 loans, and others are skeptical if it is possible to launch B40 mandates in the current situation. But the biofuel strategy must go on because it’s also part of Indonesia energy’s strategy.

Indonesia’s efforts to increase the palm content in biofuel to 40% by 2021 were put on hold due to cheaper fuel costs and record-high palm prices. In addition, raising the blending rate would require the government to provide a significant incentive through the money it collects from palm oil export levies. As a result, road tests for vehicles powered by 40% palm biofuel may be delayed, but discussions on B40 are ongoing.

“Indonesia has several issues in launching the B40 because of the pandemic era. First, in 2020, the oil demands declined. As a result, CPO is lowered, significantly affecting the financial crisis. In 2021, there was uncertainty about the price, and the government didn’t want to give subsidies. The second problem is infrastructure. For example, part of the strategy for increasing biofuel is a refinery prepared by Pertamina in Balongan Refinery, and it’s still in development. But if these problems are solved, all the essential elements of starting the B40 this year make sense,” Fabby said.

 

The B40 plan was delayed again on high CPO prices, but Indonesia is optimistic about the year 2023 being implemented

Doubts have emerged over Indonesia’s plan to roll out B40-type biofuel this early year as the high price of CPO renders such fuel uneconomical. As a result, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has announced a delay in implementing a mandatory 40 percent palm oil-based biodiesel (B40) policy to “prioritize stability” amid rising CPO prices. 

Based on The Jakarta Post’s1 articles on March 29, 2022, Energy Minister Arifin Tasrif said that the government would continue its B30 policy – of 30% palm oil-based biodiesel – in 2022 and devise solutions to maintain the price gap between CPO and biofuel prices. He said that technically B40 is ready to be implemented and is still reviewing whether they’re prepared to produce more CPO. 

“As we know that the B40 program was slated for implementation in July 2021 following the success of the B30 program in 2019, but it was delayed by a year as high CPO prices had made the fuel uneconomical and because of the pandemic condition, but the government had planned to conduct the B40 trial on this year and we optimistic it will be implemented on 2023,” stated Fabby.

Fabby said the government was still committed to escalating the biofuel policy and developing the development plan. As of 28 March 2022, CPO prices had risen 27.5% Year To Date (YTD). The government hopes that increasing the proportion of processed CPO in biofuel would help limit petroleum imports. Indonesia has long been one of the world’s largest crude oil and gasoline fuel importers.

In 2021, the B30 program reduced greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 25 million tons, and the government studied the technological, economic, regulatory, and supporting industry aspects of implementing B40. Fabby suggested that the government begin implementing the mandatory B40 policy in 2023.

 

The Future of Biofuel Strategy

The use of biofuel continues to be increased by optimizing the production of domestic biofuels (BBN). With this policy, it is hoped that by 2027 Indonesia will no longer import fuel to save foreign exchange and improve the welfare of oil palm farmers through the mandatory biofuel program.

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) stated that the implementation of biofuel has been successful for 15 years. However, even in biofuel with a blending rate of 30 percent, some time ago, bioavtur was tested on flights from Bandung to Jakarta and vice versa. It turns out that the results are entirely satisfactory, so it can continue to be improved.

Biofuel would act as the main substitute for petroleum fuel, especially in the transportation sector. However, based on IESR’s study, the future potential of biofuel is highly uncertain due to the rapid development of alternative technologies, especially electric vehicles. The government needs to be prudent in developing the long-term plan for biofuel and putting it under the broader energy transition plan. Increasing the biofuel mandate too aggressively could risk the infrastructure becoming stranded assets. 

The energy strategy tried to integrate biofuel planning with electric vehicle adoption and petroleum refinery development. In addition, to reduce the risk of stranded assets, investment in biofuel could be directed to retrofitting existing plants for co-processing or developing biofuel refineries that are more flexible in product portfolio and transformable to other products.

 

Source: 

  1. B40 biodiesel plan delayed again on high CPO prices, 29 March 2022
  2. Critical Review on the Biofuel Development Policy in Indonesia
  3. Energy Intelligent Interview with Fabby Tumiwa 

 

Russia’s Invasion May Affect Energy Transition in ASEAN

Jakarta, 5 April 2022 – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for the past month has been steering up the global reaction, especially on energy security issues. Russia is known for its oil and gas global exporter, with the invasion going on, global leaders are taking stands in giving sanctions not to buy gas from Russia. Is this good or bad? We may need a longer time to see the impact, but one thing’s for sure, Russia’s sanction has become one of the triggers for European Union Countries to accelerate their energy transition and  seal emergency securities as well as reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.

Fabby Tumiwa, the Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), said that EU action to ensure their energy security is accelerating the transition.

“EU countries try to reduce their reliance on fossil fuel by developing technology such as green hydrogen to ensure their energy security. This is such good news for the EU region yet it has a spillover effect as countries like Germany commit to supporting energy transition in emerging countries like Indonesia. The current situation may affect the speed and funding for the energy transition in emerging economy countries,” he explained.

Sufficient funding is crucial for decarbonizing the whole energy system. Enough funding means the government will be able to build modern low-carbon energy infrastructure. As most of the emerging countries lie in the Southeast Asia region, this area has become the hotspot for decarbonization. As one of the most populated regions, Southeast Asia’s energy demand is constantly growing. Ensuring the region has sufficient funding to transform its energy system into a cleaner one will be one of the determining factors of global decarbonization.

Consisting of ten countries, ASEAN has different characteristics in developing its energy transition mechanism based on the national priorities of each country. The various situations create different opportunities, one thing in common is that renewable energy sources, especially solar, are available abundantly in the region. Fabby added that soon solar energy will be a commodity just like oil and gas at the moment. 

“Therefore, it is important for ASEAN to have its manufacturing facility (for solar panels). To make sure the operation of the manufacturing facilities technology transfer from the main producer is a must,” Fabby said.

Sara Jane Ahmed, Founder, Financial Futures Center Advisor, Vulnerable 20 Group of Finance Ministers, added that partnership will be the key for ASEAN countries in accelerating the energy transition.

“In this time, China can actually play a bigger role by providing funds and transferring its technology to ASEAN countries,” she said.