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.

Commercial and Industrial Sector Ready to Encourage the Use of Rooftop PV

Jakarta, March 15, 2022 – The development of rooftop solar PV in Indonesia in the last three years has been very rapid. Citing records from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, there is a significant increase in installed capacity from less than 1.6 MW in 2018 to 48.79 MW in 2021. This is certainly encouraging. Solar power has become a clean energy that costs one of the cheapest today. The massive use of solar energy is the Indonesian government’s strategy to achieve the target of a 23% renewable energy mix by 2025. In addition to large-scale PV projects, the government has launched rooftop PLTS as a National Strategic Project (Proyek Strategis Nasional – PSN) of 3.6 GW.

In addition to utilizing the technical potential of solar energy in the areas where it operates, there is a need in the commercial and industrial sectors to use clean energy in their production and business operations. Nurul Ichwan, Deputy of Investment Planning – BKPM in the webinar “Business Going Green” organized by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and the Institute for Essential Services Reform, said that as many as 349 multinational companies have issued commitments to use 100% renewable energy in their business activities (RE100).

“In addition, other regulations such as the carbon border adjustment mechanism which will be implemented in the European Union will certainly encourage companies to switch to renewable energy so that they can be competitive with market demands, the easiest is rooftop solar power,” explained Ichwan.

Ichwan also added that as an offtaker, PLN plays an important role in this energy transition process.

“The big consideration lies with PLN, if they cannot receive the maximum supply of renewable energy, this transition process will not run quickly,” he explained.

The industrial sector’s need to reduce carbon emissions was justified by Karyanto Wibowo, Director of Sustainable Development DANONE, who explained that his company continues to strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its business activities, starting from energy efficiency, carbon offsetting, and installing rooftop solar panels on factory facilities.

“We plan to use 100% renewable energy (RE100) in 2030, currently we have installed rooftop solar panels with a total capacity of 6.2 MWp in 5 locations. With this installation, only 15 percent of clean energy is produced, we still have to catch up to another 85 percent until 2030,” he explained.

Karyanto continued that regulatory innovation for the power wheeling scheme would greatly assist the industrial sector in utilizing renewable energy.

From the developer side, George Hadi Santoso, Vice President of Marketing Xurya Daya, highlighted several problems with installing rooftop solar panels related to permits from PLN.

“We encountered many obstacles in West Java and Central Java. PLN is not responsive, and has not implemented regulations issued by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. We were once asked to become premium consumers first,” explained George.

The availability of export-import kWh meter is also still a problem with the slow flow of roof PV installations.

Aries, PLN’s APP Division, who was also present online clarified that the regulations currently being implemented by PLN still refer to the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Regulation 49/2018 which was revealed in the PLN Directors Regulations number 18 and 49. The derivative rules for the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Regulation number 26 /2021 which is an update of Ministerial Regulation 49/2018 regarding rooftop solar is still in the process of being drafted by PLN.

“Services at PLN units are strongly influenced by queuing conditions. It is necessary to reorganize the service mechanism in each unit so that all consumers can be served properly,” explained Aries.

Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR and General Chair of the Indonesian Solar Energy Association, reminded that the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Regulation No. 26/2021 has officially taken effect as of January 22, 2022, so it should have been implemented by that date.

“I hope this condition can be resolved soon so that there is clarity for licensing arrangements from 15 days to 5 days,” said Fabby.

The service industry that attended the ‘Business Going Green’ forum shared their experiences for taking part in this decarbonization effort. Antonius Augusta, Executive Director of Deloitte Indonesia, stated that in his institution, emission reduction actions are derived to individual actions.

“Globally, we are committed to using 100% renewable energy by 2030 in office buildings and using electric vehicles as operational vehicles. In Indonesia itself, sustainability action is carried out by looking again at work methods to reduce business trips. Some employees have also used rooftop solar panels as a personal initiative to help reduce emissions,” explained Augusta.

The selection of vendors and suppliers who also have a strong commitment to sustainability is one of Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) Indonesia’s strategies. Marina Mallian, Human Capital Business Partner of PwC Indonesia, explained that the company is more focused on sustainable actions that are integrated in the daily activities of employees, such as prioritizing local meeting destinations as well as doing carbon offsetting.

“Installing renewable energy such as solar PV is a bit difficult, because the building (office) is not ours. Even for changing vehicles to EVs (electric vehicles), we have concerns about the availability of battery charging infrastructure.”

Indonesia Needs Inter-island Electricity Interconnection for 100 Percent Renewable Energy Development

Jakarta, 26 January 2022 – The energy sector which is dominated by fossil energy accounts for ⅔ of global emissions. In order to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions exponentially, massive use of renewable energy is an important thing to do. One of the efforts to empower 100 percent of the technical potential of renewable energy, which is widely spread across all provinces in Indonesia, is the construction of an interconnection of the archipelago’s electricity network. 

Jisman Hutajulu, Director of Electricity Program Development at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, in the HK Experts webinar (26/1/2022), stated that the government through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has plans to connect the grid system between islands in Indonesia.

“This is to support the 2060 net-zero emission plan. One of the things we want to encourage is the use of NRE, but many NRE sources are far from the many demand sources in Java. So we have to transmit that energy to our load center,” Jisman explained.

Jisman said that his party encouraged PLN to complete interconnections within major islands in Indonesia, which is expected to be fully completed in 2024, later to be connected between islands gradually.

Jisman admits that building this transmission system takes a lot of investment. So the ministry is making a study about priority, to analyze and determine which transmission will be built first. Furthermore, Jisman also mentioned the potential inclusion of this transmission development plan in the Problem Inventory Draft (DIM) of the NRE Bill to ensure the priority of the work.

On the same occasion, Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR, believes that this interconnection system should be seen as an investment, not a burden from the choice of shifting to clean energy.

“According to IESR, Indonesia has abundant renewable energy potential. For solar alone, the potential can reach 7,700 GW with the largest potential based on land suitability, located in East Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, and South Kalimantan,” said Fabby. 

Fabby also revealed that the initial investment needed for grid interconnection development until 2030 is still relatively small, around USD 3.3 billion because there is no inter-island integration yet. However, the required investment will increase in 2040 and 2050, respectively at USD 34.8 billion and USD 53.9 billion.

Other benefits that Indonesia can enjoy from inter-island grid interconnection include increased reliability and concentrated power reserves.

“For instance, excessive power reserves in Sumatra can be sent to Bangka, and vice versa,” said Fabby.

In addition, an integrated inter-island network can reduce investment requirements for developing new power generation. According to him again, the interconnection of the grid will create a diversity of generation mix and supply security, which is different from fossil energy systems that only come from one energy source. Furthermore, Fabby explained that if this interconnection system is already running, the cost of generating renewable energy will decrease by 18% – 46% by 2030.