Indonesia’s Pathway To Sustainable Energy: The Ups And Down

Sneha Pishu Lalwani (left) from Binus International University, 1st winner of The 38th IPA Student Writing Competition (SG photo/Rahayu Widyawati) 

Sustainability has been a pressing issue for many of our economic decisions worldwide. It encompasses simple decisions such as the need for printing papers to more complex ones such as energy sources. Sustainability is one link to allow our future generation to have experience the world like we did. Can you even begin imagine the world without natural resources? Not for a millisecond!

Indonesia, a member of the ASEAN is said to have enormous potential to move to renewable energy resources. However, we have not completely exploited this source well enough to benefit from it.  With that said, there is a huge possibility for Indonesia to employ these renewable resources. Amongst them are geothermal, bio fuel, solar energy and hydropower energy. In particular, Indonesia is a front runner of geothermal and solar resource.

A research shows that Indonesia has a significant potential in using wind as our energy resources. However, only 16% of this is currently utilized. Also, using bio-mass energy is another possible renewable energy that Indonesia can develop upon. Today, Indonesia is only using only 1% of this resource. Hydropower, another source of renewable energy has a potential of generating 75,000 mega-watts (MW) of electricity and only 6% of it is used.

With that said, Indonesia has seen a need to incorporate sustainability needs into strategic plans. To meet these goals, there are several decisions that need to be made along the way that has to be congruent to this big goal. According to the plan our current president has shaped (Indonesia’s Energy Mix in 2025), our use of oil as energy resources should fall from 42% to 20% and the utilization of gas should increase by 50%. Along with this plan, he also envisions Indonesia to consume nuclear energy as one of our energy resources.

There are several barriers faced in developing our renewable energy. Few common ones include lack of funding, lack of expertise and knowledge as well as the technology infrastructure needed to develop renewable energy sources. However, in my opinion, it all shall be worth fighting for. Indonesia is currently struggling to meet its own demand for oil and gas. With the increasing domestic consumption, we are currently importing petroleum to meet its demand.

To overcome these barriers, Indonesia needs to produce clear and justified policies, both at the country level as well as the regional level. Starting in small areas can have a great overall impact. Indonesia has a populism characteristic among its people. Therefore, if one can realize the need of renewable energy, it can have a domino effect to the country as a whole.

It’s also common for Indonesia, if not all countries to use government elections as a means to make promises. Promises that help win elections. These same promises are also used to measure their performance. So why not take this chance to include a plan for renewable energy resources and increase the awareness of Indonesian’s about green power?

In conclusion, Indonesia has an immense potential in developing its renewable energy resources. Not only it is blessed with its supply but it also has the huge consumer base in which it can benefit from the economies of scale. To tackle the lack of investment issue Indonesia can provide tax exemption, something that catches everyone’s attention. In simple words, we need to make that change NOW!

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