Sub-National Energy Transition as The Acceleration of the National Energy Transition to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Jakarta, June 2023 – World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5 every year. This commemoration is carried out to increase public awareness regarding the importance of protecting and caring for the environment. However, current environmental conditions indicate  a worsening situation. This is evident from increasing temperature on Earth, which has the  potential to accelerate climate change. The rise in temperature is primarily caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide emissions have been increasing by approximately 1.3% annually over the past five years. Therefore, various efforts are needed to reduce these emissions, and one of the key approaches is to promote energy transition.

How does Energy Transition Contribute to Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions?

Energy transition involves shifting from using fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas, to utilizing renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, or hydropower. By doing so, carbon dioxide emissions, one of the major greenhouse gases, can be significantly reduced. Currently, around 73% of emissions are generated by the energy sector, which heavily relies on fossil energy. Transitioning to renewable energy that does not produce carbon emissions can significantly improve the environment. In fact, adopting renewable energy during the energy transition can potentially reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 75%. Additionally, as part of the energy transition, it is crucial to cancel the new coal-fired power plant (CFPP) project and proactively retire existing coal-fired power plants. Implementing these energy transition measures can only play a vital role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and should be prioritized.

Why can Sub-National Energy Transition Efforts Accelerate the Achievement of Energy Transition Goals?

Accelerating the reduction of carbon emissions necessitates expediting the energy transition process. One effective approach is to focus on sub-national energy transition efforts. Energy transition initiatives at the sub-national level can contribute to a more active and widespread national energy transition. Research conducted by Cowell in 2016 suggests that sub-national energy transition actions planned and executed by local governments can shape overall national energy transition. Local governments have the influence to increase renewable energy capacity. Each region possesses unique renewable energy sources and varying conditions, requiring tailored management strategies. Sub-national governments can identify and prioritize the potential strengths of their regions, leading to the development of specific policies that address the challenges of renewable energy transition. Furthermore, these policies issued by sub-national governments can attract businesses with a focus on renewable energy, thereby fostering technological advancements and facilitating the implementation of renewable energy projects in the area. Engaging local leaders can also boost community support and cooperation for the energy transition.

Indonesia is one country actively pursuing a sub-national energy transition. Local governments in Indonesia have begun designing the Rancangan Umum Energi Daerah (RUED), a policy framework aimed at accelerating sub-national energy transitions and subsequently contributing to the national energy transition. RUED ensures the availability of renewable energy sources at the sub-national level. As of June 7th, 2023, 30 provinces have stipulated RUED. Several provinces that are actively promoting the energy transition in their regions are Central Java. The governor of Central Java has issued a governor circular letter, as well as various types of initiatives to improve the energy transition. It can be seen that up to the 2nd quarter of 2022, Central Java has installed solar PV reaching 22 MWp which plays a role in the national energy transition. Similarly, the Bali government has also issued circulars to support the use of renewable energy, such as Governor Regulations (Pergub), namely Pergub No.15 of 2019 and Pergub No.48 of 2019. The Bali government has also taken the initiative to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, a head of national target. This initiative is known as Bali Net Zero Emission 2045.

These sub-national energy transition efforts are expected to accelerate the realization of the national energy transition. By accumulating the progress made at the sub-national level, the implementation of the national energy transition can be expedited and optimized.

Photo by Pete Alexopoulos on Unsplash

Indonesia’s Triumph in the Next 30 Years Against the Climate Crisis, Decided Now

Jakarta, 4 December 2021-“Everyone has used solar panels, and there are electric motors too. The air feels so fresh!” said Kiara in Kiara’s Dream which describes the environment of Indonesia in 2050. This dream should be the general dream of the Indonesian people, notably the policymakers whose decision will determine the journey of the Indonesian.

The success of Indonesia in 2050 as Kiara’s description depends  on the Indonesian government’s strategy in preparing and providing a better planet for future generations. The step to reach it must start from now by making an energy transition, switching from fossil energy to renewable energy.

President Jokowi in his briefing to the Commissioners and Directors of Pertamina and PLN, even emphasized that the energy transition could not be delayed any longer. Jokowi firmly asked his staff to immediately prepare a concrete, compact, detailed grand design of energy transition. Jokowi said that welcoming the energy transition era, all sectors need to change by developing renewable energy instead of fossil fuels. This is part of the global movement to tackle the climate crisis.

The climate crisis has been a common enemy for years. The struggle against it has been set in the Paris Agreement in 2015 agreed by 197 countries. Each country tries to keep its emissions as low as possible to keep the earth’s temperature well below 1.5 degrees Celsius after pre-industrial times.

Until COP 26 in Glasgow ended on November 13, 2021, as many as 137 countries already had a carbon neutral target of 2050-2070. Indonesia is targeting carbon neutrality by 2060 or sooner with international support. However, these efforts were considered insufficient to limit the earth’s temperature. The results from the Climate Action Tracker state that even with the country’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality in the 2050-2070 timeframe, the earth will still be heated at 2.5-2.7 degrees Celsius in 2100.

Regrettably, as one of the largest emission contributors in the world, particularly in the forestry & land sector and the energy sector, Indonesia has not yet set ambitious steps in combating climate change. Although taking a positive commitment to the early retirement of 9.2 GW of coal-fired power plants, according to the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), at least a total of 10.5 GW of coal-fired power plants must be retired before 2030 to be in line with the Paris Agreement.

To urge the Indonesian government to be bolder in its efforts to mitigate the climate crisis demands the role of Indonesian people, including young people. IESR through the Clean, Affordable, and Secure Energy for Southeast Asia (CASE) project in collaboration with AIESEC UI at the Global Impact Conference, which was attended by youth across countries underlined the important and impactful things that youth can do, including by sharing information about the energy sector as the second-largest greenhouse gas emission contributor after forestry and land.

“Awareness of the damaging impact of fossil energy to the earth will encourage people to have responsible behavior towards energy consumption, for instance by saving energy,” said Agus Tampubolon (blue tshirt), CASE Project Manager, IESR.

Furthermore, every Indonesian citizen has a significant part in resolving the quality of life for their children and grandchildren by choosing leaders who have a vision and mission to realize low emission development and massive use of renewable energy, both at regional and national levels.

Agus added that to accelerate the energy transition process systematically, local governments play its key in setting a high target for achieving renewable energy in the Regional Energy General Plan (RUED). Local governments must have a detailed mapping of the technical potential of renewable energy in their area, build networks, and prepare relevant regulations to attract more investment in renewable energy in their area. Thus, Kiara’s Dream, our dream, and the dreams of future generations can come true.