In an effort to develop alternative sources and renewable energy, the government is turning its attention to developing, among other factors, solar energy and energy from processed urban wastes, industrial refuse, vegetables, and plantations.
Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) Sudirman Said has stated that the government will seriously implement its program to produce renewable energy from vegetables.
"The program to generate renewable energy from vegetables is one of our priorities. We hope the mandatory program can generate 1.57 million kiloliters of energy from vegetable wastes," the minister said recently.
According to Said, President Joko Widodo has put forth an idea for managing displaced land in Indonesia. "Displaced land should be made use of for the green diesel development program by opening energy plantations at those locations," he stated.
The minister further noted that extraordinary support will be needed from the government, private sector, and farmers to expedite the green diesel development program.
Besides exploring and implementing energy generation programs, the government has also issued a policy raising its mandatory biofuel mix of diesel from 10 percent (B10) to 15 percent (B15).
The B15 mandatory policy will be implemented by the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy from April 1, 2015.
"This is one of the fundamental changes that are implemented in the energy sector. The composition of the energy mix has gradually been shifted from dependence on fossil fuel to new and renewable sources of energy," Said remarked on Monday.
The governments efforts to develop alternative energy and increase its B10 to B15 biofuel mix have gained support from many circles, including lawmakers.
Syaikhul Islam, a member of Commission VII on the energy affairs of the House of Representatives, has supported the governments policy to impose a 15 percent mandatory mix of biofuel in diesel.
"An (fossil-based) energy disaster is looming large, so we should switch to biofuel," he stressed. He noted that henceforth, the government should seriously start developing renewable energy sources that the country already has in abundance.
Thus, the country will no longer depend on diesel oil imports that reduce its foreign exchange reserves.
Actually, Indonesia is rich in renewable energy sources that can be developed to replace conventional energy. Biofuel can even be produced from household, industrial or plantation wastes.
For example, urban wastes in Jakarta reach 6,500 tons per day; this can be recycled to produce biofuel energy.
Therefore, the Jakarta administration is planning to generate renewable energy by recycling wastes as suggested by the National Energy Council (DEN).
"Jakarta consumes a high rate of energy. To save on energy, we should use renewable resources such as solar energy and energy produced from recycled wastes," Deputy Governor of Jakarta Djarot Saiful Hidayat stated at City Hall on Thursday.
According to him, DEN has suggested the use of recycled refuse. "The volume of waste in Jakarta reaches 6,500 tons per day. According to DEN, this garbage can be processed into fuel, for which technology is also available," he pointed out.
However, the deputy governor noted that the use of recycled waste to generate renewable source of energy should first gain public support, as they can help sort organic waste from inorganic refuse.
"People are not used to segregating organic wastes from inorganic wastes before dropping them into garbage bins. This poses a major challenge before us," Hidayat remarked.
The Jakarta administration hopes by generating biofuel from recycled garbage it can produce electricity supplies for the capital city. It will also use solar energy for the same purpose.
He added that the government of Jakarta will cooperate with the National Energy Council for utilizing renewable energy so that electricity consumption in the capital city can be economized.
"As the first step, we will use renewable energy to power our street and traffic lights so that we will no longer have to depend on non-renewable sources of energy such as oil and coal," Hidayat affirmed.
The officials of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) have also lauded the governments program to generate biofuel.
Kadin also wants the mandatory fuel mix percentage to be higher than the existing B15.
"It is too low; we want a higher percentage. The governments mandatory level for 2015 is only 17 percent. It is too low," Harry Salman Sohar, the New and Renewable Energy Permanent Committee Chairman of Kadin, stated during a discussion on Biogas Indonesia Forum 2015 on Friday.
He pointed out that the development of renewable energy, both biofuel and biofuel-based gas, in Indonesia still faced constraints.
This is regardless of the fact that the use of biofuel-based renewable energy offers greater benefits in terms of empowering the people and also has a positive impact on the economy and environment.
This will make the people more independent and enable them to harbor future aspirations to create a more energy-resilient region, he observed, emphasizing that the development of wastes from plantation, industry, agriculture, and household wastes into commercially valuable renewable energy should be optimized.