The Aspirations of the Communities for the NERE Bill

Jakarta, 19 May 2022 – Decarbonization of the energy sector as one of the largest emitters in Indonesia needs to be carried out to achieve the net-zero target in 2060 or sooner. Thus, Indonesia should prepare supporting policies for development of renewable energy. However, based on the draft of the New Energy and Renewable Energy Bill (NERE) has entered the harmonization stage in the Indonesian House of Representatives, various organizations representing certain community groups view that the draft NERE bill deviates from its goal of encouraging the sustainable use of renewable energy.

Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), Bersihkan Indonesia, Koalisi Perempuan Indonesia (KPI), Masyarakat Energi Terbarukan Indonesia (METI), Adidaya Initiative, Yayasan Lembaga Konsumen Indonesia (YLKI) dan Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL)  held discussions and conferences press to convey their aspirations to the NERE bill.

IESR highlights the ambiguity of the NERE bill that mixes fossil, nuclear and renewable energy in one bill. According to IESR, the new energy resource, such as a downstream product of coal and nuclear power plants, will increase the potential for stranded assets and will not significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“This bill is heavily influenced by the interests of the status quo, the coal and nuclear industries, which sneak in using the new energy definition. The implication is making this bill blurred on developing renewable energy that strongly needs political encouragement and regulatory framework to develop it quickly, supporting the goal of the energy transition,” said Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR.

Likewise, Ahmad Ashov Birry, Coordinator of Bersihkan Indonesia (BI), encouraged the Indonesian House of Representatives to prepare policies that support renewable energy.

“Instead, the NERE bill that claims to support renewable energy blatantly obscures a possible renewable energy future for Indonesia by making way for fossil and other harmful energy to be associated as renewable energy. This can be an unclear signal for the international community that wants to support Indonesia in solidarity with its transition. There is still an opportunity for change, and the government must take bold steps to change it,” said Ahmad.

The co-founder of the Adidaya Initiative, Aji Said Iqbal Fajri, conveyed three main points of pressure for Commission VII of the DPR RI.

“We request that Commission VII of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia (DPR-RI) remove all forms of non-renewable energy as a new energy source in the NERE bill. Second, Commission VII of the DPR-RI and related stakeholders regulate incentives for  renewable energy to achieve the new and renewable energy mix target of 23% by 2025 as stated in the General National Energy Plan (RUEN). Third, Commission VII of the DPR-RI and related stakeholders to consider scientific suggestions and aspirations of the community from various groups in preparing the NERE bill as an effort to increase economic growth while increasing decarbonization efforts in the energy sector to achieve economic and environmental justice in Indonesia.”

Questioning incentives for renewable energy users, Chairman of the Yayasan Lembaga Konsumen Indonesia (YLKI) Tulus Abadi said the NERE bill must regulate significant incentives, both fiscal and non-fiscal for renewable energy’s consumers.

Furthermore, the Executive Director of the Masyarakat Energi Terbarukan Indonesia (METI), Paul Butarbutar said that the NERE bill should be the legal basis for maximizing investment in the renewable energy  sector. 

“This bill should focus on renewable energy, therefore, it can be a strong legal basis, which provides legal certainty to maximize investment in renewable energy, as part of the energy transition to achieve net-zero emissions as soon as possible. Thus, all articles related to new energy, terms that are not known internationally, can be abolished,” explained Paul.

Meanwhile, he also added that if the government and the nuclear power plant industry intend to encourage the use of nuclear energy, the government should prioritize the revision of Law 10 of 1997 on Nuclear Energy. If it is related to the energy transition, they can revise Law No. 30 of 2007.

“If the government wants to encourage the use of nuclear power for a generation, the government should prioritize the revision of Law 10 of 1997, so that it can be used as a strong legal basis for nuclear power plant investment. Moreover, the utilization of nuclear power plants based on the government’s roadmap is still long to be realized, so the government has sufficient time to revise Law 10 of 1997. There is no urgency to include nuclear energy in this bill. Regarding the energy transition, it is not proper to include it in this bill. What needs to be done is to revise Law 30 of 2007 to accommodate issues of the energy transition, net-zero emission, NDC, and the Paris Agreement in the energy sector,” explained Paul.

Carrying the aspirations of farmers and fishermen, Harmanto, Head of the Media, Communication and Information Department of the Kelompok Tani Nelayan Andalan (KTNA) said that his party firmly rejects the development of nuclear power plants. According to him, farmers and fishermen around the nuclear power plant will be the disadvantageous group affected by the development of the nuclear power plant, especially if there is an accident at the nuclear power plant.

“NPP requires an exclusive zone that is a huge area. So, it has the potential to take up large areas such as large coastal areas. It can displace farmers’ land and limit fishermen’s access to the sea. It has been seen from some large coal-fired power plant constructions on the north coast of Java, which has displaced farmers’ land and hampered fishermen’s access to the sea, as well as changing fishing areas. In addition, the risk of a nuclear power plant accident is not zero. Reactor accidents can result in radiation leaks that impact the land, water, and sea. In Fukushima, radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant is dumped into the sea and makes people afraid to eat fish,” explained Harmanto.

On the other hand, the Komisi Perempuan Indonesia (KPI), Mike Verawati Tangka asked the DPR RI to pay more attention to the voice and position of women in energy policy making. The principles of equality and social inclusion must be the perspective of energy governance from upstream to downstream in energy policies that are being prepared by the parliament and government. The article on community participation in the NERE bill must ensure that all elements of society, such as women and other marginalized groups can be fully involved in access to sustainable clean energy by ensuring gender-based representation. This needs to be done because women and other marginalized groups are still positioned as limited energy consumers so that when the energy crisis occurs they face more severe consequences.

“Gender mainstreaming is not only limited to mentioning terms in energy policy but must be operationalized within the framework of its implementation. Such as incorporating specific gender goals into the design of energy sector development and empowering and involving women and marginalized groups through consultation, participation, and decision making. Then develop a gender-specific strategy to maximize benefits for women and the poor in overcoming the impacts of new and renewable energy development,” said Mike.

Agreeing with the aspirations conveyed, Sonny Keraf, an academician from Atma Jaya Catholic University, added that the NERE bill is a ‘poco-poco dance’ which is a step forward and a step backward, because they are hijacked and imprisoned by dirty fossil traders to preserve their at the expense of humanity’s common interest in saving the earth’s crisis.

“There are too many negative impacts if we stick with the ‘poco-poco dance’. The credibility of the government’s global diplomacy of climate change negotiations could be eroded. Exports of domestic industrial products can be interfered with by the provisions of emission standards in the entire production chain and supply chain of our products. Our commitment to climate change mitigation has been hampered,” he said.***

NRE Bill is Ineffective in Supporting Energy Transition in Indonesia

press release

Jakarta, March 21, 2022 Entering the harmonization stage in the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR RI), the New Renewable Energy Bill (NRE Bill) is seen as deviating from the goal of encouraging the energy transition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 or as soon as possible. At the plenary meeting of the harmonization of the RE Bill (17/03/2022), experts from the legislative strengthened the position of new energy by adding new energy sources to the bill, which is now referred to as New and Renewable Energy (NRE). 

The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) views the NRE concept in one law as ineffective and ambiguous. Moreover, the inclusion of coal derivative products such as coal gasification, coal liquefaction, coal bed methane as a new energy source will potentially hamper the efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses (GHG).

GHG emissions resulting from the coal gasification process in new energy are much higher than renewable energy. The total emission from the conversion process of 1 kg of coal into Dimethyl Ether (DME) is around 3.2 Kg CO2eq or about 400 grams of CO2 eq/kWh (IRENA, 2021). It does not include the emissions caused when burning DME, which is equivalent to burning diesel oil that can reach 631 grams of CO2/kWh (assuming 40% DME stove efficiency). Therefore, the total emissions produced to get the same amount of energy reaches 1031 grams CO2/kWh. Meanwhile, the life cycle emissions generated from the use of renewable energy, such as solar power plants are only around 40 grams of CO2 eq/kWh (NREL, 2012).

“The NRE Bill draft shows the DPR RI’s lack of understanding of the need for energy development in the context of the energy transition. The DPR RI also accommodates the interests of the coal industry, which wants to continue to gain market share when the coal market for electricity generation declines. The entry of new energy technologies such as coal downstream will make Indonesia trapped with fossil energy infrastructure. Meanwhile, the inclusion of nuclear power plants will hinder the acceleration of the energy transition that requires the development of renewable energy on a large and fast scale,” said Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR.

The utilization of technology that reduces carbon emissions in non-renewable energy (fossil energy) plants will expand the mechanism for using non-renewable energy, such as clean coal technology (ultra-supercritical power plant), carbon capture, and storage (CCS) technology, and biomass co-firing. IESR believes that maintaining coal-fired power plants with CCS technology is a relatively expensive option compared to developing renewable energy.

“The support for fossil energy or non-renewable energy in the NRE Bill will give a signal to maintain the steam power plant in the energy system for longer, instead of retiring the steam power plant earlier as has been discussed in recent months,” added Deon Arinaldo, Manager of Energy Transformation Program, IESR.

Deon added that the DPR RI should have reviewed the effective and economical use of energy in formulating the NRE Bill.

“To achieve carbon neutrality, the most cost-effective greenhouse gas mitigation should be considered, which according to our analysis is renewable energy. With regulatory support, renewable energy can be built and renewable energy funds can be used effectively to encourage the preparation of massive renewable energy projects,” he explained.

The latest draft also authorizes the central government to set prices for new and renewable energy if no agreement is reached between the parties/business entities (in this case PLN and the developer). In this case, of course, it will be related to the provision of incentive funds and compensation for new energy or renewable energy due to price-fixing by the central government. 

“The government should establish incentives and a scheduled renewable energy auction mechanism to provide certainty to business actors. Pricing should be done for technologies that are not yet commercial and are applied in remote areas to ensure access to clean energy for the community,” said Fabby Tumiwa.

Women’s Groups and Farmers’ Groups on the NRE Bill “Not New Renewable Energy but Clean Energy”

Jakarta, March 4, 2022- The House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia (DPR RI) has submitted the Draft  Bill on New and Renewable Energy (RUU NRE) to the Legislation Agency (Baleg) for harmonization. However, the aspirations and needs of the community such as women’s groups (and also communities in the 3T area-Frontier, Outermost, Disadvantaged) as well as the gender approach have not been reflected in the existing draft of the NRE Bill. Therefore, the Indonesian Women’s Coalition (KPI) in collaboration with the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) held a webinar entitled “The NRE Bill: A Further Look at Gender Perspectives Accommodated in Energy Policy”.

Energy plays an essential part in women’s lives, which are closely related to household activities. The use of this type of energy will affect the productivity and lives of women. The type of energy that is full of emissions and pollution will harm women’s health and the environment, especially in 3T areas in Indonesia. Besides, women have only been positioned as energy consumers, even though there should be opportunities for the general public, including at home, to produce energy and use it themselves.

Addressing women’s need for energy, KPI encourages the DPR RI and the government to see women as energy producers. Moreover, in terms of energy policy, KPI urges to develop clean affordable renewable energy that can be found locally instead of relying on fossil and nuclear energy.

Dian Aryani, National Presidium of the Indonesian Women’s Coalition of  Farmer Families speaks on her concern that women are often not involved and trained in NRE energy development. She also views the NRE terminology as inappropriate. She said instead of developing new energy, it is better to focus on utilizing clean energy that does not contain pollutants and renewable energy. The existence of an article that regulates the protection of community initiatives in building, developing, and utilizing renewable clean energy is crucial, especially for the household scale and non-commercial community scale.

“Furthermore, the government needs to implement gender mainstreaming in policies, planning, implementation,  and evaluation of NRE development,” she added.

Maftuh Muhtadi, Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection (KPPPA) in his presentation acknowledged that women are still seen as the main consumers of electrical energy.

“So far, energy management has always been attached to women’s responsibilities regarding their domestic roles. Energy consumption tends to be inefficient and the role of women is important to improve the efficiency of energy use and management,” he explained.

Highlighting that there is still a portion of fossil energy in the NRE Bill in the form of coal downstream, Maftuh cannot one hundred percent refuse fossil energy. He stated that the most important thing is to ensure that the production, distribution, and consumption of energy have few negative effects.

On the other hand, Mohamad Yadi Sofyan Noor, Head of the Mainstay Farmers and Fishermen Contact (KTNA) views that including nuclear energy in the NRE Bill is not a wise action. His party objects to the construction of nuclear power plants because it has the potential to harm the economy of farmers and fishermen.

“The construction of nuclear power plants increases the risk for farmers and fishermen because it absorbs large funds that are possible to be allocated to other programs such as food security. The required land for building nuclear power is large enough to threaten the access and economic activities of farmers and fishermen. The risk of a nuclear power plant accident is borne directly by the farmers and fishermen who are around the nuclear power plant,” he concluded.

Rinaldy Dalimi, the Expert Council of the Indonesian Renewable Energy Society (METI) said that the presence of nuclear energy in the NRE Bill would complicate the development and exploitation of renewable energy.

“The NRE Bill, if studied in more depth, will not be passed soon because at least the central government should consider building 5 new institutions, and must provide various incentives and radioactive waste disposal sites,” he added.

Rinaldy believes that in the future there will be a time when everyone can produce their energy, it won’t be a concern to the government.  Energy will become a household matter. Thus, the role of women will be crucial in managing the energy sector.

Sugeng Suparwoto, Chairman of Commission VII DPR RI on the same event informed that the NRE Bill in the next 3 months can already be ratified. He also stated the development of renewable energy is a must. However, he admitted some challenges in developing NRE, such as the big political power still leaning towards fossil energy.

Sugeng explained that in the process of drafting the NRE Bill, the participation of all stakeholders, including the involvement of women, had been carried out. Responding to the nuclear issue in the NRE Bill, although he stated that he was open to any suggestions and input, he repeatedly explained that nuclear is one of the technology options with minimal emissions.

Youth Coalition Concerned for Renewable Energy: “Remove Brown Energy Sources from the EBT Bill!”

Jakarta, September 29, 2021 – Indonesia has set its target on achieving a carbon neutral target by 2060 or sooner. One strategy is to use renewable energy. Encouraging the optimization of renewable energy development in Indonesia and providing a clear legal basis. The House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia has the initiative to draft the New and Renewable Energy Bill (EBT Bill). However, along the way, the EBT Bill still contains elements of fossil energy which has drawn protests from the Youth Coalition for Renewable Energy.

“Initially, the EBT Bill raised our hopes about the development of renewable energy as a mitigation measure for the climate crisis, but our hopes have faded because the current EBT Bill includes unclean energy sources. Here, Indonesia’s commitment to the energy transition and reducing its emissions is questionable,” explained Satrio Swandiko Prillianto, representative of the Youth Coalition Concerned for Renewable Energy at the webinar ‘Youth Aspirations for a Fair EBT Bill’, which was supported by the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR).

Not only that, through Satrio, this Coalition that consisting of students from various universities in Indonesia, also summarized their 3 points of objection to the EBT Bill as follows:

  1. The Youth Coalition Cares for Renewable Energy demands the House of Representatives Commission VII to remove unclean energy sources from the EBT Bill,
  2. The Youth Coalition Cares for Renewable Energy asks the government to regulate incentive regulations for renewable energy,
  3. The Coalition of Youth Concerned for Renewable Energy asks the government to consider scientific suggestions and aspirations of the people from various circles as an effort for economic growth and decarbonization of the energy sector.

Sugeng Suparwoto, Chairman of Commission VII DPR RI on the same occasion stated that the long process of making the New Renewable Energy Law has now reached the synchronization stage in the legislative body of the DPR RI. It is planned that this law will be completed by the end of 2021. He explained that this bill is important to deal with energy problems in Indonesia.

“Our fossil energy reserves are low, besides that it is also polluting because it produces high carbon emissions, so we need to switch to renewable energy and need a strong legal basis for the development of the ecosystem,” explained Sugeng.

Although the EBT Bill is not yet perfect, Ratna Juwita Sari, a member of Commission VII DPR RI believes that this EBT Bill will ensure that the energy system in Indonesia to be strong, independent, sufficient, affordable, fair and sustainable, and clean.

“We are aware that some articles still raise pros and cons, such as the chapter on nuclear, but the impact of this bill socially, economically and environmentally will be large and good,” explained Ratna.