Workshop: Coordination Forum for Sustainable Off-Grid Rural Electrification

Figure 1. Dr. Rudolf Rauch, the Director Renewable Energy Program of GIZ Indonesia, gave the opening speech.

The Directorate-General of New Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation (DGEBTKE) in collaboration with Electrification Through Renewable Energy (ELREN) – GIZ held a workshop on October 9, 2018, in Double Tree by Hilton, Jakarta. This workshop was aimed to build a Sustainable Off-Grid Rural Electrification team, which consist of various backgrounds such as stakeholders from different ministry, entrepreneur, NGO as well as local communities. DGEBTKE is planning to make this workshop as the basis of another series of event to accelerate the development of off-grid electrification. There will be at least three more workshops after this first event which titled, “Coordination Forum for Sustainable Off-Grid Rural Electrification.” The next three events would bring topics about, “Rural Economic Development Through Mini-Grids”; “Optimizing System Life-Time” and the last is “Women and Inclusiveness of the Minority in Off-Grid Electrification.”

The workshop was opened by Dr. Rudolf Rauch as the Director Renewable Energy Program of GIZ Indonesia. He appreciated the work of the Indonesian government in the effort to provide electrification in the rural areas. Although there are still some villages that have not yet reached by electrification and also some system fault, the enormous size of Indonesia with its unique geography as the biggest archipelagic country still make the 98 percent of electrification is such an achievement. Even nowadays, there are still many countries which have a lot lesser electrification compared to Indonesia. Some successful story of rural electrification would also be presented in this workshop by the local communities which maintain and operate the power generator themselves.

After Dr. Rudolf Rauch leaves the podium, the MC then invited Mr. Haris as the Director of Various New Energy and Renewable Energy to give a speech about the achievement and the future commitment of the government in developing the off-grid electrification. Mr. Harris stated that the government is committed to use renewable energy in the off-grid area especially using solar PV (PLTS) and mini-hydro power generator (PLTMh). In 2017, there are more than 700 projects of PLTMh in rural areas. In 2018, renewable energy has contributed to 8.4 percent of the total national electrification. There are four main aspects in the development of renewable energy for rural electrification: (1) Maintenance aspect; (2) Technical aspect; (3) Financial aspect; and the last (4) The business prospect.  Mr. Harris wished that this workshop would be the first step to pursue the sustainable off-grid electrification so that the 23 percent of renewable energy in the 2025 national energy mix could be achieved.

After the opening session, Mrs. Marice Hutapea, the former Director of Various New Energy and Renewable Energy as the moderator lead the panel session. She invited five speakers to the stages; there were (1) Mr. Ramsyah as the representative of community solar power manager in Kutai, East Kalimantan. He and some of his neighbor run the local community business called BUMDes Bersinar Desaku which also maintain captive power from the solar panel to electrify their village. The village Mr. Ramsyah lived is surrounded by two lakes, and when the rainy season comes, it 80 percent would be flooded by the lake water. That is why most of the houses there are the stilt houses and the floating houses. This condition is also the reasons why 27 out of 237 villages in Kutai is considered as the off-grid area and have no electricity. Today, the mini-grid power with 30 kWp capacity is built in their village and electrify 168 houses as well as public facilities for 24 hours. The presence of electricity in the village inevitably generate many multiplier effects throughout the entire village. With the electricity tariff only about 3000 rupiahs per day, the electricity has wakened up the local business such as molding workshop, swallow house, fish milling, and fish food processing. The next speaker was (2) Mr. Andar as the representative of community mini-hydro power generator called “KSU Puncak Ngegas” in Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara. Similar to the story of Mr. Ramsyah, the village Mr. Andar lived was considered off-grid which leads to the lack of infrastructure such as electricity. In 2009, the first PLTMh was built with total capacity 25kW; then in 2013, the second PLTMh was built with bigger capacity about 40 kW. These two renewable power generators are successfully provided electricity to 221 houses with each house get the share of about 150 watts. The presence of electricity in Ngegas village is also generated multiplier effect especially in term of village productivity. The villagers now are able to process their coffee and increase its added value from Rp20,000 per kg to Rp45,000 per kg.

Besides the local communities, there were also speakers from private companies and NGO which take part in developing renewable energy in the off-grid area. The third (3) speaker was Mr. Askha Kusuma Putra from Akuo Energy. Akuo Energy is the France companies which focus on developing various, medium to large-scale, renewable energy resources. One of their very first project in Indonesia is to build Solar Power in Berau with the collaboration between Akuo Energy, three Special Purpose Company (SPC) and BUMDes. The SPV then became the project owner and responsible for ensuring the sustainability f the project. The electricity generated from the Solar Power of this project is set to have the same tariff as the national electricity tariff. Three things Mr. Askha noted have a significant impact in the Berau Solar PV Project: first, is the availability of gap fund which covers 96 percent of the capital; second, the support from the local community; and last is the competitiveness of electricity tariff. One problem he noticed is that the implementation of Ministerial Regulation No. 38 Year 2016 has a flaw in term of submission project is limited to sub-district (kecamatan), while some village without electricity access could be located far from the other villages in one sub-district. The fourth (4) speaker came far away from Sumba Island to argue the minority role of women in the off-grid electricity sector. They were Mrs. Trouce Landaruka from Yayasan Peduli Kasih and Mrs. Jeti Arlenda as the only one women as a senior technician in Sumba solar power company. In Sumba, many women have no proper education if we compared it to the men and the role of women is also often limited to the household, work only. However, people often miss the fact that Sumba woman is the ones who pay more attention to the energy sources in their home such as firewood, kerosene as well as electricity. Moreover, the high price of certification fees and the lack of training institutions in the regions make it harder for women to take a deeper part in the development of off-grid electrification. The last speaker (5) was Mr. Rosman; he works in the Prowater Multi Teknik, the private company initiated by some civil servants as the actualization of their ambition to provide affordable mini-hydropower generation services. Today, they have built 130 turbines and fixing turbines for local communities at an affordable price as part of their social services. Although he admits that the company is suffering from the financial crisis due to the many delinquent payments, the founders believe that this business would survive and will continue to help local communities.

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