[Discussion Report] PYC International Energy Conference 2017 – Plenary Session

The plenary session in PYC International Energy Conference was moderated by Dr. Arief Havas Oegroseno, who is the Deputy Minister of the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia. The panelists are a list of high-profile expertise in their field that talks about energy development from different perspectives, including (1) Prof. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana (Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy Studies in Universitas Padjadjaran), (2) Prof. Akiko Yamanaka (Senior Diplomatic Fellow at Central Asia Forum – Cambridge University, former Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japanese Government, and also former Special Ambassador for Peacebuilding of Japan), and (3) Mr. Andrew Shaw (Economic Counsellor of the US Embassy for Indonesia).

Prof. Armida S. Alisjahbana opened the plenary session by engaging the audience to see energy issues from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) perspective. She briefly discussed the highlight of SDG that emphasizes more on environmental aspect compared to its predecessor, the Millenium Development Goals (MDG). Instead of one, environmental sustainability is elaborated into six goal-points, with one of them as the energy being affordable and clean (No. 7). The energy-related goals are also reflected on the other four goals, including industry, innovation, and infrastructure (No. 9), reduced inequalities (No. 10), sustainable cities and communities (No. 11), and peace, justice, and strong institutions (No. 16). The interrelation shows the uniqueness of SDG that is more holistic, integrated and comprehensive. Therefore, to realize one goal is not to be impartial, but to ensure success for other related goals as well.

She highlighted three priorities in SDG for energy: (1) universal access to energy, (2) a higher share of renewable energy, and (3) massive improvements in energy efficiency. In relation to Indonesia, she highlighted that improvement of its energy policy and energy mix is crucial to meet the 2030 SDG’s energy commitment laid out in the 1st Indonesia’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) submission. A combination of fiscal instruments, taxation, and subsidy are keys to meet this commitment. Moreover, she observed that current policies tend to approach the energy problems from the supply-side, while demand-side management is mostly overlooked. Meanwhile, to pursue success in energy efficiency and renewable energy use, the demand market has to be conditioned through demand restriction, demand support, and responsive system, along with supply-side interventions.

A new perspective on seeing energy resources as a non-traditional security measure is presented by Prof. Akiko Yamanaka. She highlighted that the instability of energy resources could inflict a threat to the national security. In some cases, the scope of impact created by the mismanagement of energy is even larger to include neighboring countries such as might happen in the case of atomic energy.  Meanwhile, cooperation between countries can enhance the development of energy technologies. Therefore, she is campaigning on establishing international cooperation on developing alternative energy, formulating regional energy policy, promoting international comprehension of the safety of atomic energy generation, and also encouraging the role of United Nations (UN) in the energy sector. Her speech is closed with reference to Aristoteles: “It is more difficult to organize peace than to win a war, but the fruits of victory will be lost if the peace is not organized” – “So,” she concluded by saying that, “let’s work, and work together.”

International cooperation in energy development is, in fact, is already established between the USA and Indonesia, as mentioned by Mr. Andrew Shaw. He listed several partnership programmes between both countries, including (1) the Indonesia Clean Energy Development Program that works on developing regional energy planning and identifying high potential energy sources from some target provinces across the country, (2) the Green Prosperity Projects, that invests in 3.4 MW of electricity projects through off-grid renewable energy systems in 5 remote locations, (3) the role of USA’s companies in Indonesia’s energy projects such as in Sidrap Wind Farm and Sarulla Geothermal power plant, (4) the knowledge sharing and discussion sessions between both country’s energy department, and (5) the Indonesia’s 10 GW energy efficiency roadmap which US Department of Energy helps to formulate. However, to further accelerate investment in sustainable energy, he agreed with Prof. Armida that some fine tuning in permit procedure and financing scheme are necessary.

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