Jokowi’s green energy promise gets thumbs up

Clean and sustainable: A man checking solar panels that power a naval base in Riau Islands. The government has promised to use renewable energy for its new capital city in East Kalimantan. — The Jakarta Post/ANN

Jakarta: President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s promise to use renewable energy to meet the electricity needs of the new capital city in East Kalimantan has received strong support from green energy advocates.

Indonesian Renewable Energy Society (METI), a green energy think-tank based in Jakarta, said East Kalimantan had enough renewable energy resources to meet the electricity needs of the new capital city, which will occupy parts of North Penajam Paser regency and Kutai Kertanegara regency.

“We hope the new capital fully utilises renewable energy in meeting its energy needs, considering the availability of renewable energy around the new capital’s location, ” said METI chairman Surya Darma on Tuesday.

Electricity production in East and North Kalimantan remains overwhelmingly reliant on fossil fuel-fired power plants, which generated 99.96% of the 0.94 terawatt-hour (TWh) of power produced in the two provinces last year.

Furthermore, East Kalimantan’s installed renewable energy capacity of 21.2 megawatts (MW) is well below the provincial target of 89.6MW as mandated under the General Planning for National Energy (RUEN) road map.

Indonesia as a whole, which produced 9.8 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power last year, also fell short of producing last year the 12GW of renewable energy as mandated by the road map.

METI estimates that the new capital will need up to 4.5TWh of electricity each year to power the daily activities of its 1.5 million residents.

Based on METI’s estimate, the new capital would consume slightly above one-seventh of the electricity consumed by current capital Jakarta and satellite neighbourhood Tangerang, which used 32.8TWh last year, according to Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry data.

In his annual state address at the House of Representatives on Aug 16, Jokowi said the new capital city would “use renewable energy and be independent from fossil fuels”.

However, official data show that the government faces a huge uphill climb to make the new capital fully powered by renewable energy.

Energy analyst Abadi Poernomo, a former National Energy Board (DEN) member, supported the president’s ambition but noted that ensuring a continual, renewable electricity supply to the new capital would be costly, even with the city relocation budget of 466 trillion rupiah (US$32.7bil).

He said East Kalimantan’s lack of large scale hydroelectric and geothermal potential meant the new capital should invest in an electricity storage system and in channeling power from neighbouring North Kalimantan, where the government is building the 9,000MW Kayan hydroelectric dam. — The Jakarta Post/ANN

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