Indonesia Clean Energy Dialogue: Reviewing 2018, Outlooking 2019

Figure 1. Bambang Harimurti, Prof. Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Ir. Michael Sumarijanto, Sudirman Said, Febby Tumiwa and Prof. Subroto during the Indonesia Clean Energy Dialogue.

At the end of 2018, Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) collaborated with Bimasena -Mines and Energy Society- organized an energy dialogue with Indonesia’s energy experts and with the intention to review the clean energy achievements in 2018 as well as to forecast the challenges and opportunities of Indonesia’s clean energy development in 2019. “Indonesia Clean Energy Dialogue: Reviewing 2018, Outlooking 2019” was held at Bimasena Club at The Dharmawangsa on December 19, 2018. The dialogue was attended by three formers of Indonesia’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, namely Prof. Subroto (1978-1988), Prof. Purnomo Yusgiantoro (2000-2009) and Mr. Sudirman Said (2014-2016). There were also other energy experts such as Mr. Surya Darma from Masyarakat Energi Terbarukan Indonesia (METI); Mr. Zulfikar Manggau from PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PT PLN); Mrs. Kirana D. Sastrawijaya from UMBRA; and Mrs. Emma Sri Martini from PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur (PT SMI).

The event was opened by Mr. Febby Tumiwa as the Executive Director of IESR who argued the stagnation of the clean energy policy development in the last forty years. A similar argument was delivered by Prof. Subroto as the keynote speaker. The national development goal is to build a prosperous “Indonesia Raya”. However, Industry 4.0, as one of the most vital development aspects, will not be achieved without the energy revolution focusing on clean energy. Today, global energy sources were still dominated by fossil fuels which caused greenhouse gases (GHGs). One of the worst GHGs content is CO2, which is responsible for increases of the global temperature and leads to climate changes. Many natural disasters occurred due to climate changes such as hurricanes and tornados that recently attack Indonesia. As stated by Prof. Northouse, “We need to change our way to develop the world we live in. Knowing is not enough, we must apply what is right and best for the future”. 

In the first session, Prof. Purnomo Yusgiantoro and Mr. Sudirman Said presented their opinion regarding the clean energy condition in Indonesia. As formers of Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, both of them have the knowledge and experiences in defending clean energy policies within the government. In addition to the two speakers, Mr. Bambang Harimurti was appointed as the moderator. Prof. Purnomo Yusgiantoro delivered a comprehensive history of energy sector development in Indonesia in the last 40 years. During the new order era, oil has become the most valuable commodity in Indonesia and got the status of  “Lex Specialist.” Oil had helped Indonesia recovered from the economic crisis by exploiting oil extensively up to 1.6 million barrel per day and became 80 percent of total export revenue. Then, the sudden oil price drop leads Indonesia to suffer “Dutch Disease” twice in the 1980s and early 1990s. The dutch disease had wakened up the government awareness regarding the importance of diversity. Natural gas and coal started to be produced on a large scale to substitute oil and decrease the dependency on it. In just ten years, the natural gas and coal production had risen drastically, from 654 mmscf of gas and 650 thousand ton of coal in 1980, risen to be more than 1.600 mmsfc of natural gas and 3.09 million ton of coal in 1990. Another milestone also happened in this era, with the establishment of Indonesia’s first geothermal plant in Kamojang on 1982. As a matter of fact, renewable energy has been used in Indonesia for a long time, such as biomass which on BAROKEN era had dominated more than 70 percent of primary energy source in household sector by burning the firewood. In the future, the energy planning is based on the KEN, RUED, RUKN, and RUKD  with renewable energy hold 23 percent shares of the national energy mix in 2025.

The next speaker, Mr. Sudirman Said highlighted the current oil import dependency which caused Indonesia to become highly vulnerable to the monetary crisis and trade balance deficit. Energy investment has two major characters; First, it comes in the big scale of investment; and second, the energy investment would greatly affects both the local and national economy. It could be said that energy is the enabler of national growth. Today, most of the politicians only focus on the short term solution which can be only profitable to their popularity and without thinking about the long term effect. This condition made many vital sectors such as energy became the victim of political interest. Furthermore, Mr. Sudirman Said argued that energy should be handled by the technocrats and dissociated with the political interest.

In this dialogue, there was also a presentation from the IESR research team about “Indonesia Clean Energy Outlook: Reviewing 2018, Outlooking 2019”. In the report, there are no significant progress and achievement on the national clean energy policy in 2018. It occurred in most of the important characteristics such as the policies quality, the consistency within the policy implementation, the network capacity as well as the bankability of the renewable energy project. The report showed the bleak of national renewable energy, especially in achieving the 2025 energy mix target. In 2019, the political year and election period may worsened the renewable energy condition since it would become one of the most vital issues to attract voters.

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