CNBC | Electricity Costs Should Lower in April, Says Expert

Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), Fabby Tumiwa, explained that there is a possibility that the government will adjust the price of electricity, especially non-subsidized electricity, starting in April 2023. He estimates that the non-subsidized electricity tariff for the April-June 2023 period will likely decrease compared to the previous rate.

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Strengthening the Solar Energy Narrative

Jakarta, 9 March 2023 – Solar energy has the potential to be developed massively in Indonesia. The Institute for Essential Services Reform in its report entitled “Beyond 207GW” states that the technical potential of solar energy in Indonesia reaches 20,000 GW. Unfortunately, the use of solar energy is still minimal. It is noted that the installed capacity of new solar energy is around 270.3 MW until 2022.

In the talk show “Bincang Energi Surya”, the collaboration of six institutions namely the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), Solar Scholars Indonesia (SSI), the Indonesian Student Association (PPI) Australia, the Korean Indonesian Research Association (APIK), the New Generation Solar Energy Institute (Insygnia) ), and Solarin, Anindita Satria Surya, Vice President of Energy Transition and Climate Change of PT PLN stated that the development of solar energy is very necessary for the development of renewable energy.

“The description of the JETP scenario is first, building a large baseload such as hydropower, second, building a strong transmission network, and third, building supporting plants such as PLTS,” he explained, explaining the big picture of PLN’s plans to build renewable energy generators in the next few years.

In addition to a comprehensive investment plan for implementing the Just Energy Transition Partnership program, the development of renewable energy generators is also guided by the RUPTL. In the 2021-2030 RUPTL, it is planned that Indonesia will have more than 50% of the energy used come from renewable energy sources. Solar energy itself is planned to increase by 4.6 GW until 2030.

Widi Nugroho, Sub-Coordinator of Supervision of Various New and Renewable Energy Businesses, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources emphasized that to pursue the target of a renewable energy mix of 23% by 2025, fulfillment will be prioritized with solar energy.

“For the development of NRE generators, priority is given according to the 2021-2030 RUPTL where solar will increase by 4.6 GW in 2030,” he explained.

Based on the government’s plan, solar energy will be the main pillar of Indonesia’s electricity system with a capacity of 461 GW in 2060. As Indonesia receives the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) funding, it opens up various funding opportunities for renewable energy projects and technology research.

On the same occasion, Muhamad Rosyid Jazuli, Policy Researcher, Paramadina Public Policy Institute, stated that currently there is one main challenge from the policy side, namely the accumulation of a number of commitments that are not accompanied by derivative regulations so that progress towards achieving the promised commitments does not run smoothly.

“The high dominance of coal in Indonesia’s electricity system and the price of coal which is considered relatively cheaper is one of the challenges in developing renewable energy, especially solar,” explained Rosyid.

Rosyid also added that in addition to policies, public perceptions need to be developed in relation to renewable energy and low-carbon technologies so that behavior changes can occur. At present, renewable energy or other low-carbon technologies, such as electric vehicles or rooftop PV, have not become the people’s first choice. Limited information related to technology and prices that are still relatively expensive are some of the aggravating factors in society.

Bincang Energy Surya is a series of public dissemination events about solar energy. 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 to support the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) and Net Zero Emission (NZE) targets.

Multi Stakeholders Partnerships in Emerging Technologies to Accelerate Energy Transition in Indonesia

Kolaborasi Multisektoral

Jakarta, March 6, 2023 – The Clean, Affordable and Secure Energy (CASE) Program of Indonesia alongside the Ministry of Planning and National Development/National Development Planning Agency (Kementerian PPN/Bappenas) launched a series of multi stakeholder discussions ahead of the Indonesian Sustainable Energy Week (ISEW) that will be hold on October 2023. The discussions were kicked off under the theme of “Emerging New Technologies to Support Energy Transition in Indonesia”, where different experts address the Indonesian context of technologies for renewable energy and the challenges faced to implement them. 

Devi Laksmi, Coordinator of Conservation Energy Development Working Group of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR), stated the renewable energy target of Indonesia which should reach around 23% by 2025 and how the country still has massive gaps to achieve this said target. MEMR is currently developing its strategy to maximize RE potentials. 

Moving forward with the discussion, Mentari Pujantoro, Project Manager of Agora Energiewende said the global carbon emission has reached its historical peak in 2022 which is caused by fossil fuels and energy consumption. Renewables, Energy Efficiency and Renewable-based Electrification can contribute to 70% of worldwide emission reduction.

Indonesia needs to identify the existing technologies and their roles first before moving on to new technologies,” said Mentari.

Badariah Yosiana, Programme Officer the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) explained the opportunities of renewable energy utilization towards Indonesian economic growth. Energy technologies could benefit the industry sector.

“For example green hydrogen could be utilized as a clean energy source and as a producer of Nickel, Indonesia could become a battery producer and exporter which would contribute to the integrated electric vehicle (EV) supply chain and solar PV manufacturing,” stated Badariah. 

Beni Suryadi, Manager of ASEAN Centre for Energy stated that although renewable energy such as wind and solar will dominate the energy mix in Indonesia starting from 2031, however not a single country can reach 100% net zero emission just from utilizing both energy.

“In other parts of the world, there have been debates on the possibility of Nuclear as a secure and reliable option to replace coal. However, some still deemed this clean source of energy inflexible due to the safety requirements,” said Beni. 

After three panelists presented different technologies and their feasibility, Prof. Dr. Ir. Suwarno, M.T., Lecturer of Bandung Institute of Technology, Professor of School of Electro Engineering and Informatics addressed a critical question of the country’s readiness of these technologies. He raises an issue about human resources, acceptance, awareness and regulations that would contribute heavily to the process of energy transition in Indonesia. As an academic himself, he pointed out that education and research institutes will play massive roles in preparing the skilled human resources needed to succeed. 

Mr Zainal Arifin as the Executive Vice President of Engineering and Technology, State Electricity Company (PLN), said the challenges faced by Indonesia: over capacity and the trilemma of energy to ensure affordability, reliability and sustainability. Until now, the only energy source which could cover all three is hydro power according to PLN. He pointed out that in developing strategies for energy technologies, flexibility and adaptability have important roles as it is not a linear process and will be implemented in the long run. 

Finally, Mr. Agus Tampubolon as the Program Manager of CASE wrapped up the discussion and presented the timeline of discussions, which will be held four times with different topics. 

“These next discussions will focus on one topic at a time for a deeper conversation and all the findings will be presented at Indonesia Sustainable Energy Week (ISEW) in October 2023”, said Agus.

The Central Java MEMR Office Involves IESR in the Drafting of the Strategic Plan 2024 – 2026

Semarang, 1 March 2023 – The Energy and Mineral Resources of Central Java Province involved the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) as a participant in the Regional Forum for Drafting Strategic Plans Document for 2024-2026. This activity was held at the ESDM Office of Central Java Province, opened with remarks by the Head of the Central Java Energy and Mineral Resources Office, Sujarwanto Dwiatmoko and attended by representatives of Commission D DPRD Central Java Province, Secretary General of the National Energy Council, representatives of Regional Government Organizations (OPD) district/city level of Central Java Province as well as several related stakeholders.

Sujarwanto Dwiatmoko believes that the involvement of various stakeholders in regional forums is very important in the basis of regional policies. In addition, the issuance of a Presidential Decree regarding Regional Strengthening on New and Renewable Energy (NRE) has become the mainstay of development and enthusiasm for Central Java to build an energy transition with the people. The people collectively are expected to be able to realize an independent supply of energy to achieve energy sovereignty.

The meeting discussed four strategic issues and development priorities for the Central Java region for 2024-2026 related to the EMR sector, namely 1) A resilient economy that is competitive and sustainable, 2) Human Resources who are competitive, characterized and adaptive, 3) Resilient Natural Resources and environment, 4) Dynamic governance.

Sujarwanto added, there are several points that need to be emphasized in strategic issues such as a strong economy, Central Java human resources that are competitive, characterized and adaptive.

“The economy is resilient, meaning that in our resilience we do not only have competitiveness, but also have a sustainable orientation. In addition, Central Java human resources must have character, be able to adapt and have a plan in dealing with disruptive changes; full of uncertainty, vulnerability and complexity, on a national and global scale,” he continued.

He also emphasized strategic issues for aspects of natural resources and the environment which included one aspect of energy security

“On the aspect of energy security, especially renewables in Central Java, its development must be accelerated, there must be agreement from all elements and the state must be involved in it. This requires a shift in perception and high mindset regarding NRE from many parties,” he explained again.

He also explained about the four focuses of regional energy security which include 1) Availability of energy sources, 2) Affordability of energy investment costs, 3) Ability to access energy (accessibility), and 4) Public acceptance of energy (acceptability).

Furthermore, Sujarwanto said that the MEMR Office of Central Java Province emphasized that the three-year development would move towards realizing a competitive economy.

“Energy for economy, energy for productivity”. This means that the energy currently available in society is not only enjoyed for lighting, but must also be utilized to increase their productivity. The more people per capita consume electrical energy, the more productive they will be,” he said.

Energy independence at the community level continues to be encouraged through the Desa Mandiri Energi (DME) – Energy Independent Village program initiated by the ESDM Office of Central Java Province. This program utilizes the potential of local energy sources owned by each district/city in Central Java Province to promote energy independence and sovereignty. Data shows that 2,353 villages or 27.48% of 7,809 villages in Central Java already have energy independence initiatives and are included in the Energy Independent Village category. There are around 36 energy assistants who will be placed in districts/cities to strengthen Central Java’s independent energy village and energy sovereignty.

Through the DME program, Central Java is determined to have energy transition with the people and 60% of the energy will be generated from the people who are in the district/city area. There are two things that will be encouraged in this program, namely increasing public awareness and developing renewables in areas and remote areas, such as the construction of biogas, micro hydro, Biogenic Swallow Gas (BSG) and agricultural pumps that are converted using solar equipped with batteries or Solar Water Pumps.

Imam Jauhari, representative of the Bappeda Cilacap, agreed that energy for the people’s capacity is very important. Agreeing with him, Sri Hartini, representative of Commission D DPRD Central Java Province, believes that the solar water pump program will be able to help with community problems.

“Our hope, of course, is that the synergy between OPD will be well established, for example overcoming the problem of flooding in the community means that the Energy and Mineral Resources Office synergizes with PSDA. Then from the provincial, district/city governments must really coordinate to meet the needs of the community” – said Sri Hartini.

Apart from that, Wahyudin Noor Aly, representative of Commission D DPRD Central Java Province also asked

Even though the potential that exists in Central Java must be encouraged and increased to pursue and achieve the target of Central Java’s energy mix. According to him, the rapid development of technology and the high potential of natural resources in Central Java, are still faced with a lack of energy conservation practices.

“We (the region) must allocate a special budget for independent energy, so that this energy can be enjoyed by all residents of Central Java. One village can make their own energy, use it themselves, pay for it themselves, this will be cheaper,” added Wahyudin Noor Aly

According to Wahyudin Noor Aly, the MEMR needs to make a breakthrough and take the lead in opening up opportunities to attract many investors. Problems that exist in the regions and districts/cities need to be based on the Strategic Plan and Long-Term Plan. Thus, the involvement of all stakeholders and district/city offices plays an important role in determining the design of the Strategic and Long-term Plan of the Central Java Province ESDM Office.

On the other hand, IESR will fully support the energy transition program in Central Java Province. In the DME program, IESR will be involved in providing knowledge packages to energy assistants in 35 districts/cities through capacity building activities. Through this capacity building activity, in addition to increasing knowledge, they can also build awareness, mindset and perception of the community to explore opportunities and take advantage of the potential of renewable energy sitting in the area.

Power Wheeling Scheme Has Potential Create Renewable Energy Market

Fabby Tumiwa

Jakarta, February 28, 2023 – Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), Fabby Tumiwa, highlighted the power-wheeling scheme contained in discussions on the New Energy and Renewable Energy Bill (RUU EBET). However, the scheme has been removed from the problem inventory list (DIM) preparation in the New and Renewable Energy Bill (RUU EBET). Power wheeling is a mechanism that allows private companies or independent power producers (IPP) to build power plants and sell electricity to household and industrial customers. Fabby explained power wheeling is needed to align with Indonesia’s efforts to increase renewable energy.

“The Government has set a target of achieving a 23% New Renewable Energy (EBT) mix in 2025, both for electricity and liquid fuels. Then, in 2021, President Jokowi set an NZE target of 2060 or earlier. This target is driving the energy transition to decarbonize the energy sector. As a consequence of this, renewable energy needs to be developed on a large scale,” explain Fabby Tumiwa in the webinar “New Energy and Renewable Energy for the Prosperity of All” organized by the Center of Economic and Law Studies (CELIOS), on Tuesday (28/2/ 2023).

Unfortunately, Fabby mentioned, the growth of renewable energy tends to be slow. This can be seen from the achievement of the new renewable energy (EBT) mix of around 14.11% in 2022. Fabby assesses that it is best when the combination of new and renewable energy in the electricity sector reaches 30%. Achievements in 2022, said Fabby, were only half of the 2025 target that the Government had set.

“Reflecting on these conditions, the gap with the primary renewable energy mix target of 23% in 2025 is widening. Strategic innovation is needed to encourage the implementation of renewable energy. Moreover, Indonesia’s massive renewable energy potential has not been utilized. On the other hand, the cost of generating electricity from renewable energy is very competitive. Eliminating incentives for fossil energy is enough to make renewable energy the cheapest option,” said Fabby.

Along with this, Fabby emphasized that the concept of power wheeling is familiar because previously the Government had regulated it based on the ESDM Ministerial Regulation (Permen) No 1/2015 and ESDM Ministerial Regulation (Permen) No 11/2021. Still, these regulations need to be implemented. Thus, Fabby stated that power wheeling has the potential to create a renewable energy market while maintaining industry/company investment in Indonesia. One of them is the industrial group that joined RE100.

“Power wheeling can encourage renewable energy because it provides incentives from the supply and demand side. However, power wheeling requires further adjustment. Regulatory regulations regulate tariffs for power-wheeling schemes in other countries, at least in their formulation. At the same time, the commercial aspect is taken care of by business-to-business between those who wish to use it and the transmission owner. Not only that, power wheeling needs to be included in the law because the implications of implementing the scheme will involve several ministries/agencies. For that, it’s not enough to get ministerial regulations,” stated Fabby.

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.