Currently, Indonesia still depends on fossil energy ..."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government is planning to build power generators using new and renewable energies (EBT) to provide electricity for the countrys rural areas or villages.

The planned use of new and renewable energy is part of the countrys electrification program called "Indonesia Terang" (Bright Indonesia).

Renewable energy is expected to help cover 23 percent of the governments target to produce 35 thousand megawatts (MW) of electricity by 2019.

Currently, 12,659 of 74,754 villages in Indonesia are still without electricity and 65 percent of them are in six provinces in eastern Indonesia.

Therefore, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resource is prioritizing the development of power infrastructure in six eastern provinces through the "Indonesia Terang" Program or PIT.

With its Indonesia Terang program, the government has a target to provide electricity for 10,300 villages until 2019, or about 97.35 percent of the countrys electrification ratio.

Minister of Energy and Mineral Resource Sudirman Said stated in West Papua on Friday (April 22) that the six provinces where electrification ratio is too low currently, are Maluku, North Maluku, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), Papua and West Papua.

"We have allocated Rp441 billion to produce 9.4 megawatt of electricity in those six provinces," the minister said.

The electricity infrastructure in these regions will have to be built through different approaches, such as decentralization and island-based infrastructure as well as by harnessing the renewable energy potential there.

The government estimated that at least Rp100 trillion of investment is needed to develop infrastructure under this program, 80 percent of which will be funded by the corporation while the rest will come from the State Budget.

Last month, Sudirman said power for rural areas would be generated from renewable energy sources for electrifying remote and isolated areas, islands or frontier areas.

He stated that no investor would venture into building electric infrastructure in rural areas, especially in frontier areas as it would not be commercially feasible.

"The involvement of the state is necessary to bridge the economic gap through a scheme that helps provide infrastructure, feed in tariff and price subsidy," he explained after a coordination meeting about Indonesia Terang program last month.

The minister said the program receives only 10 percent of the total subsidy budget provided by the government for oil fuel. In the past 10 years, subsidy on oil fuel which causes environmental pollution totaled Rp2,600 trillion while the subsidy meant for clean energy program over the next 10 years would be only 10 percent of that amount.

The electrification program would help accelerate economic development and improve the welfare of rural community.

Therefore, the Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) Ministry encourages innovations in the energy sector through maximum utilization of EBT energies and energy conservation that directly benefits the people, particularly in the electricity sector.

Moreover, Indonesia is believed to have a huge potential of EBT energies that could be exploited. It is believed to have about 950 MW of wind energy, 11 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy, 75 GW of hydro energy, 32 MW of biomass energy, 32 MW of biofuel, 60 GW of marine energy and 29 GW of geothermal energy.

"Currently, Indonesia still depends on fossil energy, the reserves for which will only last for another 10 to 13 years. Fossil energy cannot take Indonesia to where it wants to be by 2045," Minister Sudirman said, adding that alternative energies such as solar energy, hydro energy, wind energy and other sustainable forms, should therefore be used.

Shifting to clean and renewable energy will have an impact on spending, budget funds, networking with isolated areas and the availability of sustainable energy sources.

"Mentions about new and renewable energy may no longer be printed on the appendix page of the program. We will place the EBT issue on the front page. One of the ways is to prepare the Energy Resilience Funds (DKE) because development of EBT needs high and expensive technology," Sudirman Said stated in Jakarta on Wednesday (April 21).

According to Tri Mumpuni, an expert of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Indonesia could develop renewable energy as there are vast resources for it.

She explained that Indonesia is rich in geothermal resources, but these have not been used maximally, because the technology is still expensive.

In addition, she said, there are many renewable resources that are not widely known, such as livestock manure, to generate electricity.

Tri explained that the ministry has a program named Patriot Energy, which looks for young people who want to explore renewable energy in remote areas and build a power plant in these areas.

Launched in 2005, the program has selected 3,600 applicants and 80 young people for participation in Patriot Energy, which needs persons with technical competence, perseverance, social-mindedness and optimism, and a sincere attitude.

In the meantime, Arif Fiyanto, Greenpeace Indonesia campaigner for climate and energy, said the Indonesian government should seriously give priority to the development of new and renewable energy sources. It should no longer depend on energy which has the potential to pollute the environment, such as the use of coal in the steam-powered electricity generator (PLTU) project.

"What happens in Batang (Central Java), ironically, reflects the way the government is continuing with the Batang PLTU development," Arif Fiyanto remarked.

He said using coal as a source of energy is the same as using dirty energy in carrying out development which is against President Joko Widodos commitment to develop new and renewable energy and to overcome climate change.

Reporter: Andi Abdussalam
Editor: Priyambodo RH
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