Draft Government Regulation on National Energy Policy (RPP KEN) Slashes NRE Target to 19 Percent in 2025

press release

Jakarta, January 31, 2024 – The National Energy Council (DEN) is working on updating Government Regulation (PP) Number 79 of 2014 concerning the National Energy Policy with a new draft policy (RPP KEN) that is being discussed with the DPR. DEN schedules the RPP KEN to be completed by June 2024. The new and renewable energy (NRE) targets summarized in the RPP KEN are based on the assumption of an economic growth rate of 4-5 percent to adjust post-COVID and equalize nuclear energy as renewable energy. As a result, the Draft Government Regulation on National Energy Policy (RPP KEN) set the NRE mix target in 2025 down from the previous 23 percent to 17-19 percent. Meanwhile, the NRE target in 2050 increases from 30 percent to 58-61 percent and at 70-72 percent in 2060.

The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) views that the reduction in the renewable energy mix target to 17-19 percent in 2025 and 19-21 percent in 2030 implies a weak commitment to energy transition and a strong interest in maintaining fossil energy. IESR believes that the years 2025 to 2030 should be an important milestone to take off the energy transition in Indonesia with the achievement of renewable energy targets of more than 40 percent and peak energy sector emissions in 2030. Achieving an ambitious renewable energy mix in this decade is important in order to align Indonesia’s GHG emissions with the Paris Agreement target to limit the increase in average global temperature to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile, delays in boosting the renewable energy mix to 38-40 percent by 2040 will prevent Indonesia from reaping greater benefits from renewable energy development, including cheaper and more competitive electricity prices in the long term, lower electricity emissions on the grid that attract investment, the development of a domestic renewable energy manufacturing industry and supply chain and the creation of greater renewable energy employment opportunities. The low renewable energy mix towards 2030 could also reduce the attractiveness of foreign investment to Indonesia, as industries and multinational companies are now keen to ensure their energy needs are supplied from a low-emission electricity system. 

Fabby Tumiwa, the Executive Director of IESR, said that the setting of low renewable energy mix targets in 2025 and 2030 is not in line with the renewable energy mix target in the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) agreement which aims for 44 percent by 2030.

“The JETP has agreed on a renewable energy mix target of above 34 percent in 2030, and this target is in line with the RUKN plan discussed at the same time as the Comprehensive Investment and Policy Plan (CIPP) last year. The renewable energy mix target proposed by DEN has cast doubt on the credibility of Indonesia’s energy transition policy direction by investors and the international community.  Instead of lowering the target for realistic reasons, DEN should be more progressive in making the energy transition. As an institution led by the President, DEN can dismantle barriers to coordination, overlapping policies and priorities to make renewable energy and energy efficiency accelerate,” said Fabby Tumiwa.

IESR views that the strategies in the RPP KEN, such as the operation of a 250 MW nuclear power plant in 2032 and the use of CCS/CCUS in power plants still operating in 2060, have not been based on technical and economic feasibility in Indonesia to date. NPP with a small capacity of 300 MWe, small modular reactor, is still not available technology that is proven safe and economical. Indonesia itself still has to build institutional infrastructure (NEPIO), regulatory readiness, safety standards, as well as the availability of proven SMR technology, as well as public approval, before starting to build nuclear power plants. 

The application of CCS/CCUS in CFPP is still an expensive and ineffective solution to capture carbon, even though this technology has been developed for decades. Examples of CCS projects at Boundary Dam in Canada and also at Petranova power plant in the US show technical problems to meet the carbon capture target and the economics are not feasible.

Deon Arinaldo, the Program Manager of Energy Transformation, IESR, mentioned that Indonesia will be burdened with the cost of implementing CCS in CFPP which is expensive, operational costs that are prone to volatility and unsustainable. Meanwhile, the construction of nuclear power plants is anticlimactic amidst the decline in the world’s nuclear power plant capacity after the nuclear tragedy in Fukushima.

“In this decade, Indonesia’s GHG emission mitigation strategy in the energy sector should be focused on the development of renewable energy and energy storage technologies that have been proven to provide energy at a cost competitive with coal-fired power plants that can still be subsidized. Solar energy and wind energy in terms of construction time can be done quickly, so the homework that needs to be improved is how to prepare a pipeline of projects that are ready to be invested in and the procurement process at PLN,” Deon explained.

Exploring Ocean Energy: An Alternative to Net Zero Emission

Jakarta, December 21, 2023 – The Center for Marine Geological Survey and Mapping (BBSPGL) of the Geological Agency of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has conducted a survey and mapping of potential marine energy that can be utilized as electrical energy. As per their findings, 17 water points in Indonesia have been identified as having the potential for marine energy. These locations’ total electricity generation capacity is estimated to be around 60 GW (gigawatts).

The Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), Fabby Tumiwa, explained that Ocean energy refers to the potential energy generated from the kinetic and potential energy of the sea. Furthermore, Fabby estimates that the potential of 60 GW is too low because the sea surrounds Indonesia, so the potential should be more than 60 GW. For this reason, the mapping should be done as a whole, not just 17 points. 

“The ocean energy potential in Indonesia is estimated to be around 60 GW, much higher than the geothermal resources of approximately 29 GW. According to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, this makes ocean energy a promising alternative to achieve net zero emissions (NZE) targets in the electricity sector by 2050 and the entire energy sector by 2060, as per the long-term plan for energy system development in Indonesia,” Fabby said on iNews’ Market Review program on Thursday (21/12). 

Fabby mentioned that ocean energy has distinct characteristics similar to geothermal and hydropower, considered predictable energy sources. Using ocean energy as a source of electricity can address the concerns of many stakeholders about integrating renewable energy into the electricity system. Moreover, Fabby has evaluated that tidal and wave energy have the highest potential for generating marine energy in Indonesian waters. This assessment is based on Indonesia’s technological readiness, economics, and conditions.

“Why these two types of ocean energy? Because of technological readiness, some technologies have entered the commercial market, so it’s easy. If it has entered the commercial market, it is easier to apply because it has been proven. Secondly, Indonesia’s conditions where we see the plant is suitable for providing electricity in coastal areas. For example, to provide electricity on remote islands. Third, both technologies are relatively low in price, making them attractive to develop,” Fabby explained. 

On the other hand, Fabby discussed some of the challenges Indonesia faces in developing renewable energy. First, the viability of renewable energy projects depends on the quality of policies and regulations. Second, there are limitations in the electricity market structure as renewable energy can only be sold to PLN, which also depends on the readiness of the network and electricity demand. PLN has claimed to be in a state of overcapacity for the past three years. Third, renewable energy investment is not encouraging due to its high capital expenditures (CAPEX) and low operating expenses (OPEX). This type of investment is also associated with the type of funding available.

Koran Jakarta | Management of Just Energy Transition Partnership Investment and Policy Plan Funds Should Transparent

Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), Fabby Tumiwa, said the cooperation between the State Electricity Company (PLN) and International Energy Agency (IEA) for this was excellent. PLN can get IEA technical assistance in designing PLN’s energy transition strategy.

Read more on Koran Jakarta.

Excess Power Supply, PLN Needs to Evaluate the 35 GW Megaproject

Jakarta, February 8, 2023 – The State Electricity Company (PLN) is currently in the midst of a crisis of oversupply of electricity. Several factors cause this, including the pandemic and global recession. In addition, there is a 35 Gigawatt coal power plant megaproject that has been initiated since 2015 and operated at only 47% in 2022. However, there are also several misconceptions about this crisis. In a news program at the CNBC Energy Corner (6/2/2023), Herman Darnel Ibrahim, a member of the National Energy Council, and Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), discussed some of these misconceptions.

According to Herman, it is common for electricity service providers, including PLN, to set a percentage of reserve margin. Referencing other countries, 40-50% is a normal rate for the reserve margins to anticipate growth and maintenance. In 2022 alone, electricity growth was recorded at 6.15% (including from private power producers) and is expected to continue to increase in the coming years.

“On the island of Java itself, the reserve margin is probably 60%, while in other places there is a shortage of power. So in the next two years, it is estimated that there will be no overcapacity,” explained Herman.

According to Fabby, the growth percentage stated by Fabby does not reflect the actual rate of growth inside PLN, which is less than 5%. He considers that the current oversupply situation is due to a mismatch in demand projections that form the basis for planning and realizing the 35 GW. 

“Of the 35 GW that have been planned, 5.4 GW have not been contracted and have not received funding. It would be good if this amount could be canceled or diverted to renewable energy,” explained Fabby.

Herman and Fabby agree that there needs to be an evaluation from PLN in various aspects. First, it must sharpen demand forecasting for electricity use, while taking into account electricity supply from private generators. This can reduce the possibility of excess capacity, which can result in costs to be borne by the government or increased tariffs on customers.

Second, there needs to be an evaluation of electricity purchase and sale contracts with private power producers, especially those using take or pay clauses. 80% of the excess supply of electricity comes from private producers, and each GW costs the state IDR 3 trillion.

Third, it is necessary to evaluate the schedule between projects. The tendency is that project completion is adjusted to government tenure. This does not match the gradual demand growth for electricity, instead there is a sudden increase in power capacity, which causes overcapacity.

“The COD schedule (commercial operation date) should be determined by PLN, not the government’s term of office. Usually, projects are planned year by year so that there is no under capacity or overcapacity,” said Herman.

“The remaining 5.4 GW is important to monitor. The project is mostly funded by China, while since a few years ago, China has not financed coal plant projects anymore, so if it is certain that there will be no funding, it is better to cancel or divert to renewable energy. Evaluation is then important to provide stability of supply and affordable electricity prices,” concluded Fabby.

IESR: Renewable Energy Integration in Electricity Plan Can Reach 129 GW by 2030

Jakarta, 24 November 2022- To be aligned with the GHG emission reduction target according to the Paris Agreement, the government and PLN need to achieve a renewable energy mix of up to 41% in the electricity system by 2030. However, until today the Indonesian government has only targeted 25% of the renewable energy mix by 2030. Technological innovation, competitive prices for renewable energy, and the potential for coal-fired power plants (CFPP) to become stranded assets are qualified factors for higher renewable energy penetration in eight years.

The Institute for Essential Services Reform issued its latest report entitled “Enabling high share of renewable energy in Indonesia’s power system by 2030” which analyzes the 2021-2030 electricity development plan (RUPTL), technological advances and prices, changes in fuel prices, and projections of electricity demand to provide more opportunities towards the integration of renewable energy into the electricity network in Indonesia. This study is based on the scenario of Indonesia’s energy system achieving net zero emissions in 2050, which is aligned with the target of limiting temperature rise below 1.5°C per the Paris Agreement. In this scenario, electricity growth is assumed to reach 4.5% and added to the additional electricity demand from accelerated electrification in the transportation and industrial sectors (heating).

Using a similar power system optimization model with PLN, IESR found that the capacity of renewable energy in the power grid in 2030 could be increased to 129 GW of renewable energy with 112.1 GW coming from solar energy, 9.2 GW hydropower, 5.2 GW geothermal, 1.5 GW wind turbine, and 1 GW of biomass in the combined Java-Bali, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi systems. The renewable energy mix in the electricity sector is also projected to reach 32%, 35%, 35% and 51% respectively in the Java-Bali, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi systems. Solar energy is dominant because of its highest potential, cheapest cost, and fastest installation period in any area, either on a roof or floating.

Meanwhile, the electricity mix from coal-fired power plants will significantly decrease to only 39% in the same year. Moreover, to overcome the variability and intermittency of renewable energy and maintain system reliability, Indonesia can optimize gas-fired power plants and build energy storage (batteries).

The findings from this study are far greater than the renewable energy in the 2021-2030 RUPTL, which only targets 20.9 GW.

“The results of this IESR study are very relevant to the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) agreement that was announced at the G20. The target of JETP is a 34% renewable energy mix in 2030. Through this study, it is shown that the penetration of renewable energy generators in our electricity system is possible without impacting system reliability and electricity production costs,” said Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR.

The results of the IESR analysis show that even with high penetration of renewable energy, the reserve margin (the percentage of additional installed capacity to annual peak demand) remains at PLN’s ideal limit of at least around 30%. This study also conducts a power flow analysis and analysis of system frequency stability in the Java-Bali and Sulawesi electricity systems in 2030. As a result, it requires upgrading several substations so that power can be distributed properly. However, this need can be minimized by distributing the development of renewable energy generators. Frequency stability was still achieved and complied with Indonesia’s grid code.

One of the keys to integrating renewable energy is increasing the flexibility of network operations, including implementing a flexible CFPP operation.

“Renewable energy’s intermittency is a challenge, but there are many strategic options that can be studied to be implemented in Indonesia. For instance, by using energy storage such as batteries and also more accurately forecasting renewable energy. System operations need to be changed to accommodate this,” said Akbar Bagaskara, Main Author of the Enabling high share of renewable energy in Indonesia’s power system by 2030 report.

The capacity of the transmission and distribution network also needs to be increased to ensure a smooth supply of electricity from renewable energy, especially in the Java-Bali and Sulawesi systems.

IESR views that higher integration of renewable energy in the electricity system needs to be encouraged by policymakers in Indonesia by issuing regulations that support the acceleration of renewable energy development, accelerate electrification in the industrial sector, stipulate flexible PLTU operating regulations, and support the development of the domestic solar panel industry.

Furthermore, PLN as an electricity utility company needs to actively develop infrastructure and network operations to become more flexible network operations to enable high integration of renewable energy.

“There is a need to change the operating paradigm of the electricity system to flexible operation, no longer baseload. Of course, it is necessary to develop an operating framework for an electricity system that can provide incentives for assets that can provide services to maintain network reliability or ancillary services. The design of this framework needs to be prepared from now on so that it is ready to be implemented when the renewable energy mix begins to grow rapidly,” explained Deon Arinaldo, Manager of the Energy Transformation Program, IESR.