The Important Role of Renewable Energy to Build a Bright Future

Jakarta, June 24, 2023 – Raditya Yudha Wiranegara, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), explained several challenges in retiring PLTU and how renewable energy plays a role in shaping the future. This was discussed in the Energy Talk event held by the Hasanuddin University Society of Renewable Energy (SRE).

Raditya, or mostly referred to as Radit, opened the discussion session by explaining that human activities, especially in the energy sector, are the main contributor to the increase in earth’s temperature. The energy source is still dominated by coal and followed by consumption of fossil fuels. Radit considered this as work to be done for Indonesia, to start making plans to reduce dependence on coal-based power plants.

Furthermore, Radit points out that Presidential Decree 112/2022 regulates the acceleration of renewable energy development, and the third article contains a mandate for the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) to start making scenarios for accelerating retirement of coal power plants. There are also restrictions not to build coal fired power plants (CFPP) after this Presidential Decree is passed, except for those that are currently being planned, and those that are included in national strategic projects.

“The existing CFPP must also start reducing their emissions, until all are retired in 2045. However, this plan is still in dynamic discussion; the State Electricity Company (PLN) plans to retire CFPPs in 2030,” Radit explained.

Moreover, Radit mentioned , the benefits of early retirement from CFPPs are 2-4 times the cost that can be saved, based on an IESR study with the University of Maryland. Radit emphasized that these benefits include the benefits of health costs on air quality and reduced electricity subsidies that must be issued considering that our electricity is now subsidized. However, retiring coal-fired power plants includes several challenges, including the need for quite large upfront costs, around USD 4.6 billion by 2030 and USD 27.5 billion by 2050, which require substantial international support to achieve them. Second, USD 1.2 trillion is needed to replace PLTU electricity generation with renewable energy. Third, the legal aspect. Radit assessed that both PLN and independent power producers (IPP) have several scenarios that must be met in retiring their generators. For example, PLN needs to be investigated by an auditing agency if there is a loss to the state due to a reduction in the power plant, and the IPP can file a claim for the loss.

“From the results of the study we conducted, we found that in terms of mitigation costs, canceling the PLTU project is the most affordable option in reducing carbon emissions. Canceling will also avoid the big costs that will occur when you have to retire later, “said Radit.

Radit emphasized that with the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) momentum, Indonesia must be able to catalyze more investments and build an attractive market climate in Indonesia for foreign investors. JETP is a climate change and energy transition funding partnership from the G7 countries plus Norway and Denmark for the development of electric vehicles, technology, and the early retirement of fossil-based power plants in Indonesia. This partnership also promotes an equitable energy transition that takes into account the lives and livelihoods of affected communities at every stage of the energy transition journey, so that no one is left behind. Indonesia has received an allocation of USD 20 billion to support the energy transition in Indonesia through the JETP framework.

The Importance of Terminating Coal Power Plant Operations to Pursue Emission Reduction Targets

press release

Jakarta, 20 June 2023 – The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) urges the Indonesian government to transform the energy sector to achieve peak emissions in 2030 and carbon neutral in 2050. This align with President Joko Widodo’s commitment to achieve net-zero emissions in 2060 or earlier as a form of Indonesia’s responsibility to reduce the threat of global warming.

According to Climate Watch’s data, the energy sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, the sector produces 36.44 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Gt CO2e) or 71.5% of total emissions. Meanwhile, based on the Ember Climate report, Indonesia ranks as the 9th largest CO2 emitter from the electricity sector in the world, reaching 193 million tons of CO2 in 2021. For this reason, the government must reduce emissions significantly in the energy sector, especially in the electricity sector.

Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR stated that as one of the world’s largest economies as well as the largest emitters, Indonesia is expected to show leadership and commitment to decarbonize its energy sector through energy transition policies and plans. President Joko Widodo’s (Jokowi) political commitment must be translated into a series of policies, regulations and plans that align with one another.

“There are signs that President Joko Widodo’s (Jokowi) political commitment is trying to be countered and hindered by a number of parties who are reluctant to make an energy transition, and ultimately want to maintain the status quo, which is to not reduce coal consumption to supply electricity. For this reason, the President must observe in detail which parties are reluctant to do energy transition or try to downgrade the government’s ambition and buy time until they can change the political decision,” Fabby added.

Deon Arinaldo, Manager of the Energy Transformation Program said that IESR views the termination of coal-fired power plants in Indonesia as an important matter. As one of the recipients of Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) funding, Indonesia is committed to achieving a peak emission of 290 million tons of CO2 by 2030, and increasing the renewable energy mix in the electricity sector to 34% by 2030,” said Deon.

“The target stated in the JETP commitment is higher than the policies and plans that have been set at this time. For example, the emission target covers the power sector as a whole as well as the renewable energy mix which is 10% higher than PLN’s RUPTL 2021-2030. This means that in order to achieve this target in approximately 7 years, transformation is needed not only in planning the electricity system, such as stopping the operation of coal-fired power plants,” said Deon.

Assuming that all power plants, including coal-fired power plants, planned in the 2021-2030 RUPTL are built, IESR calculates that to achieve the JETP target,  at least 8.6 GW coal-fired power plants must be retired before 2030 followed by the termination of 7.6 GW CFPP operations before 2040. On the policy side, accelerating  renewable energy development and investment disincentives for fossil energy generators also need to be continuously encouraged.

Based on the Delivering Power Sector Transition report, IESR found that of the 13.8 GW PLTU which is planned for development in the 2021-2030 RUPTL as many as 2.9 GW could be canceled, 10.6 GW needed to end operations early, and 220 MW to be replaced with renewable energy power plant such as biomass. The cancellation of the 2.9 GW PLTU is the cheapest option to avoid GHG emissions in the electricity sector.

“From the analysis we conducted in this report, canceling the construction of coal-fired power plants coupled with early retirement for power plants can help achieve the peak emission target agreed upon in the JETP. We estimate that a 5.6 GW PLTU must be retired before 2030 if the 2.9 GW PLTU can be canceled,” said Akbar Bagaskara, Researcher of the Electricity System.

Based on the IESR study entitled Financing Indonesia’s coal phase out: A just and accelerated retirement pathway to net-zero, the cessation of coal-fired power plants is beneficial from an economic and social perspective, such as avoiding the cost of subsidized electricity produced from coal-fired power plants and health costs, respectively. Amounted to $34.8 and $61.3 billion—2 times to 4 times as much—of the cost of stranded assets, decommissioning, job transition, and losses in coal revenues.

“Until 2050, it is estimated that investment costs will be required to develop renewable energy and supporting infrastructure, as a substitute for the retired coal power plants, amounting to $ 1.2 trillion. International funding support will certainly be needed to make this happen. However, by retiring PLTU early and accelerating the development of renewable energy in Indonesia, it is estimated that there will be 168,000 deaths that can be avoided by 2050,” said Raditya Wiranegara, IESR Senior Researcher.

Translator: Regina Felicia Larasati

The Role of Solar Energy in Supporting NZE and JETP Target

Jakarta, 10 March 2023 – Clear and earnest support from the government for the development of solar energy needs to be demonstrated, especially in achieving the Net Zero Emission (NZE) target in 2060 or sooner and the renewable energy mix target in the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) of 34 % in 2030. 

“So far, JETP discussions are still focused on the early retirement of the coal-fired power plants (CFPP). There is no element of accelerated renewable energy yet. It needs to be noted, especially to accelerate the development of solar energy, which is projected to become one of the backbones of electricity generation in achieving the NZE, given Indonesia’s great potential, increasingly competitive economy and relatively short construction,” said Daniel Kurniawan, Researcher, Specialist Photovoltaic Technology and Materials, Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) in the Solar Energy Talk: Technology, Policy and Solar Energy Challenges in Supporting the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) and Net Zero Emission (NZE) on Thursday (9/3/2023).

According to him, nowadays is the right time for the government to involve community participation by pursuing these various targets with policies that support the acceleration of solar energy and the use of rooftop solar power plants on a commercial & industrial and residential scale. He regretted that the public hearing held by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) regarding the revision of Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Regulation No. 26/2021, the government wants to cancel the net metering scheme for the residential sector, which will reduce the economy and customer interest in installing rooftop solar PV.

“The government should not remove policy support for the community in adopting rooftop PV mini-grid, especially for the household and the small business sector, at this very early adoption stage. On the other hand, policy support must be increased to encourage adoption to a mature market stage,” he stressed again.

On the same occasion, Widya Adi Nugroho, Sub Coordinator for Supervision of Renewable Energy Businesses, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR), said that Indonesia has a renewable energy mix target of 23% in 2025. However, until 2022 it has only reached around 12.3 %. He said the utilization of new renewable energy power plants was prioritized according to the planning of the Electricity Supply Business Plan (RUPTL).

“Based on the 2021-2030 RUPTL, solar energy will increase by 4.6 GW in 2030. Solar will be the backbone of Indonesia’s electricity reaching 461 GW in 2060. In addition, the price trend for solar PV is getting lower and more competitive. Likewise, supporting components such as batteries so that development opportunities are increasingly open. However, there are challenges in developing solar PV, one of which is that the room for electricity generation is still full, so it requires community participation as consumers and producers to utilize renewable energy through solar energy. In addition, the system needs to maintain intermittent conditions, both with backup generators that can compensate for solar PV and also related to the local content requirement (LCR),” explained Widya Adi Nugroho.

Anindita Satria Surya, Vice President of Energy Transition and Climate Change, State Electricity Company (PLN) explained, his party continues to implement energy transition initiatives to achieve net zero emission (NZE) in 2060 or sooner. For this reason, it is necessary to increase internal capabilities and technology supported by innovation, policy and finance. Anindita estimates that the investment needed to reach the NZE in 2060 is around USD 700 billion. In addition, Anindita emphasized that the implementation of the de-dieselization program or the conversion of diesel power plants is a strategy to increase the energy mix, especially solar energy in the electricity system.

“There are several PLN strategies for integrating renewable energy, including in the short term achieving RUPTL (2021-2030) with around 4.7 GW or 22% coming from solar PV,” said Anindita.

In his presentation, other renewable energies that will be developed to achieve RUPTL include hydropower (44%) and geothermal (16%). In addition, his party will carry out de-dieselization, early retirement of coal, and co-firing of biomass. Then, in the long term to achieve NZE (2031-2060), steps to be taken include encouraging battery-based electricity storage and interconnection, as well as hydrogen co-firing. On the technology and ecosystem development side, PLN will focus on, among others, solar PV and electric vehicles.

“As an illustration, in the beginning, we built a powerful system, namely the baseload generator, built a strong transmission and coupled with strengthening the use of renewable energy, including solar PV. At the end of the 2035 period, most of the solar PV has entered our system,” he said.

Anindita emphasized that solar PV could be one of the solutions to increase the energy mix but the readiness of the infrastructure, especially batteries, to reduce intermittent nature must also be seen. For example, there are no batteries to support solar PV in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB). Not only rooftop solar PV, but PLN is also trying to take advantage of the potential of floating solar PV. As part of supporting the implementation of the Indonesian Presidency’s G20 activities, a 100 kWp floating PLTS has been built in the Muara Reservoir, Nusa Dua, Bali.

Meanwhile, Rosyid Jazuli, a researcher at the Paramadina Public Policy Institute, explained that Indonesia has enormous solar potential. Unfortunately, currently, more than 60% of electricity in Indonesia still comes from coal. This is due to several challenges in implementing solar energy to support the implementation of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), such as unclear plans, overlapping regulations, and potential funding in the form of loans. Rosyid suggested that there should be coordination between ministries and agencies in supporting the implementation of JETP, considering that this issue is a complex matter.

“On the other hand, the potential for green funding, which reaches USD 20 billion should also be optimized, especially since the current world trend is towards sustainable development. Funding is also needed for research and development of solar energy and the potential to attract investment in solar power,” said Rosyid.

Solar Energy Talk is a series of public dissemination events about solar energy which are collectively organized by six institutions; Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), Solar Scholars Indonesia (SSI), Persatuan Pelajar Indonesia (PPI) Australia, Asosiasi Peneliti Indonesia Korea (APIK), Institut Energi Surya Generasi Baru (Insygnia), and Solarin.

Solar energy thematic dissemination will be held regularly, every two weeks until June 2023, covering topics; Indonesia’s solar energy landscape, current policies, technology, industry, socio-economic and human resource readiness in support of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) and the Net Zero Emission (NZE) target.***

Solar Energy Talks: Technology, Policy and Challenges of Solar Energy in Support Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) and Net Zero Emissions (NZE)

Solar Energy Talks is a series of public dissemination events about solar energy which are collectively organized by six institutions; Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), Solar Scholars Indonesia (SSI), Australian Student Association (PPI), Indonesian Korean Research Association (APIK), New Generation Solar Energy Institute (Insygnia), and Solarin ( Solar energy thematic dissemination will be held regularly, every two weeks until June 2023, covering topics; Indonesia’s solar energy landscape, current policies, technology, industry, socio-economic and human resource readiness in support of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) and Net Zero Emission (NZE) targets.


As a country that ratified the Paris Agreement and affirmed its commitment to the Glasgow Climate Pact, Indonesia is committed to contributing to limiting global temperature rise. In one of the IPCC models, to limit global temperature rise below 1.5oC, GHG emissions must be reduced by 45% in 2030 compared to GHG emission levels in 2010, and reach net zero in 2050 (IPCC). In this commitment, the Indonesian government has expressed its aspirations to achieve net zero by 2060 or sooner. In addition, as a follow-up to energy transition funding agreed upon at the 2022 G20 Summit, the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) secretariat has been launched by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) which one of the main agendas is transition energy through the development of renewable energy including solar energy.

As a strategic step in achieving this target, the installed capacity of renewable energy needs to be increased quickly and massively. With potential spread throughout Indonesia, modular (can be installed at various scales), relatively short installation process, and able to absorb local skilled workforce – solar energy (solar power plants) can become the backbone of achieving renewable energy targets, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and support Indonesia’s NZE target agenda before 2060, as well as support the JETP agenda.


  • Discuss the role of solar energy in supporting Indonesia’s Just Energy Transition Partnership (JET-P) and Net Zero Emission (NZE) targets
  • Discuss policies and implementation of solar energy policies as an effort to accelerate the energy transition
  • Discuss the energy transition roadmap, specifically solar energy, in support of the JETP and NZE targets

JETP Secretariat Launched, Government Needs to Remove Barriers for Renewable Energy Development

Jakarta, 17 February 2023 – The Government of Indonesia has launched a secretariat for the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) work team, which will work today. Some of the targeted work results planned to achieve within the next 6 (six) months include the availability of a road map for early retirement for coal-fired power plants (CFPP) and the completion of a comprehensive investment plan (CIP) which will also reflect support for communities affected by the energy transition process.

The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) appreciates the progress made by the government and IPG towards implementing the JETP agreement. IESR encourages the JETP work team to compile beyond just a coal-fired power plant early retirement roadmap as targeted by JETP, but also more ambitious by aligning the target with the Paris Agreement.

“JETP is an opportunity to accelerate the energy transition and reduce GHG emissions. Indonesia’s stakes must go even further, such as encouraging green economic growth and strengthening the renewable energy industry. Indonesia should not hesitate to accelerate the energy transition because through it we can grow our economy higher,” said Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR.

IESR calculates that to reach peak emissions in the electricity sector in 2030, it is necessary to retire the CFPP and increase the capacity of renewable energy generators at the same time.

“In the IESR analysis, to achieve the renewable energy mix target in the electricity system of 34% in 2030 according to the JETP target, instead of the 20.9 GW of renewable energy projects that have been planned in the 2021-2030 RUPTL, an additional minimum of 5.4 GW of renewable energy capacity will be needed. The addition of this renewable energy needs to be planned along with the retirement of up to 8.6 GW of CFPP, therefore, the reliability of the electricity system can be maintained,” explained Deon Arinaldo, IESR Energy Transformation Program Manager.

Reflecting on the achievement of Indonesia’s renewable energy mix in primary energy, which only reaches 12.3%, the government must be able to overcome obstacles to the development of renewable energy, such as by providing support to local producers and industries to meet the Local Content Requirements (LCR), improve procurement procedures or renewable energy auctions and diverting fossil subsidies to the renewable energy sector and eliminating the DMO policy.

“In the last five years, investment in renewable energy has always been below the target, and the installed capacity of renewable energy has only grown 300-500 MW per year. Meanwhile, the need for additional renewable energy generators will reach 26 GW more in the next 8 years or around 3-4 GW per year. The large funding commitment from JETP, which will be outlined in this investment plan, can only be realized if obstacles to renewable energy investment, such as procurement procedures at PLN, LCR regulations for solar PV that are not aligned with industrial developments and coal price subsidies through the DMO price policy can be resolved immediately in this year,” said Fabby.

As the operation of coal-fired power plants is about to end, the government must also start preparing for proper management of electricity infrastructure such as networks and energy storage, planning economic diversification in coal-producing areas, and providing training and incentives to workers and communities affected by the CFPP closure. 

“Energy transition planning needs to provide clear direction in the long term, so that the negative impacts of the energy transition, for instance, on workers in CFPP & coal supply chain, reduction of regional and national revenues from coal, and others, can be identified clearly. From this, strategies can be developed to carry out the social and economic transformation, such as preparing new job opportunities, and relevant skills training for workers,” said Deon.