Civil society organizations emphasize the importance of transparency, accountability, and public participation in energy transition planning and implementation.

Jakarta, 20 October 2022–Global energy transition funding schemes such as Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), Climate Investment Funds (CIF), and Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM) finds their momentum in 2022. Those fundings aim to support coal fired power plan (CFPP) early decommissioning, coal mine closure, and renewable energy acceleration.

This year, those funding schemes target Indonesia as one of the recipient countries. In tune with that, the Indonesian Government has released the Presidential Regulation No. 112/2022 about  Acceleration of Renewable Energy Development for Electricity Power.

The #BersihkanIndonesia welcomes those funding schemes with caution and stress that those schemes have to follow the just energy transition principles to ensure just and sustainable energy transition.

Therefore, how can the just and sustainable energy transition can be planned and implemented?

Early CFPP Decommissioning and Coal Mines Closure

The first step needed to be done is stopping new CFPP and early CFPP decommissioning. The reality is that several Indonesian major grids are running into oversupply issues, due to too many CFPP commissioning in the last decade.

Raditya Wiranegara, Institute for Essential Service Reform (IESR) senior researcher, said, “The benefits gained from CFPP is two to four times bigger compared to the cost for CFPP decommissioning. About 168.000 deaths could be avoided from CFPP closure before 2024. From our calculation, the cost needed for early decommissioning is big, but we need to see the benefits that will be gained. CFPP retirement needs to be part of the utility company’s next business plan, because we have not seen it in the current business plan. Beside that, the next business plan has to list the renewable plants that will be built to replace the decommissioned CFPP.”

Besides being uneconomical, CFPP is also notorious for being the dirtiest since it emits the biggest carbon emission, toxic waste, air pollution, and thermal waste.Coal mines also create big problems in the Indonesian countryside.  

Ali Akbar from Kanopi Hijau Indonesia affirms that CFPP developments in Sumatra wipes out local livelihood and hits them with pollution that creates disease.

“In Ombilin [Ombilin is one of the CFPP located in West Sumatra] many children suffer from respiratory infection. Nagan Raya CFPP [Nagan Raya is one of the CFPP located in Aceh Province] has evicted one village and their livelihood. Unfortunately the Presidential Regulation No. 112/2022 still tolerates CFPP utilization, science the CFPPs that support national strategic projects and in the CFPPs that are listed in the utility company’s 2021-2030 business plan will be continued.” 

Coal mining also creates many casualties, in the discussion, Mareta Sari, Jatam Kaltim Dinamisator, explained the high number of casualties caused by unclosed coal mines in East Kalimantan. Ironically, the population around coal mines are still struggling to gain access to electricity, even though coal has become Indonesia’s biggest electricity source.

“If we talk about energy, is East Kalimantan bright? Villages around mines do not have any electricity access. The utility company only entered Bengalon, East Kutai by 2012-2015. Mines bring disaster, such as floods. Beside that, up to date there are 41 children who have died in mine holes, land conflict leads to local criminalization, until environmental pollution makes clean water access hard and expansive,” said Mareta.  

Avoid Energy Transition Fake Solutions

The #Bersihkan Indonesia Movement also reminds the government and funders not to be trapped by energy transition fake solutions.

“In Indonesia there are many efforts to hijack the energy transition idea with technologies that prolongs fossil fuel usage, unsignificantly reduce greenhouse gas emission, and unproven to be safe and reliable,” Said Rere Christianto, Walhi Nasional Energy and Mine Campaign Manager.

The first form of false solution found in Indonesia is energy sources that are obviously non-renewable and have high risk, but still regulated as “new energy” inside Indonesian renewables legislation. The examples are liquefied coal, gasified coal, nuclear, until fossil based hydrogen.

The second form is renewables that are not managed in environmentally sound manner, violate human rights, have high risk, or in lifecycle standpoint do not  reduce carbon emission significantly. Such as, biomass that pushes deforestation and monoculture agriculture, or nickel mining for batteries that pollutes and wipes out local livelihood.   

“Right now 900.000 hectares of land has been concessed for nickel mining, from the 900.000 hectares around 600.000 of them are forrest. The impacts can be seen now, lake sedimentation in South Sulawesi, meanwhile people in Obi Island can’t even use the groundwater due to pollution,” Rere added, relating to environmental impacts from unsustainable energy transition.

Ensure Sound Energy Management

The #BersihkanIndonesia movement also emphasizes the importance of accountability, transparency, public participation, and the respect towards human rights in energy infrastructure development. The coal dominated 35.000 Megawatt program that was done by the government in the last decade has left a lot of problems and conflict during the implementation. The coalition wishes that the change is not limited to the energy source, but also how the energy is developed.  

Public participation must be opened since the planning down to implementation process in order to provide meaningful participation. Beside that, licensing and land acquisition processes that have been done for national strategic projects must be evaluated.

“First of all, we must not be trapped in legal formality, since the rules that support energy transition are not enough, but how it ensures important values is also needed. Second, public participation and democratic approach is also important to ensure that large funds are not being used for fake solutions. Lastly, there must be an assurance that the CFPP operators and coal miners are accountable to fulfill their obligations, and to restore the environment,” said Grita Anindarini, Director Deputy of Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL).

Values and Principles Pushed by The #BersihkanIndonesia in Energy Transition

The discussion is closed by the “Values and Principle of a Fair and Sustainable Energy Transition in Indonesia” declaration. In the declaration, the coalition emphasize several issue:

“We consider that the energy transition must be a process that replaces the extractive and centralistic energy supply pattern into a regenerative and democratic one, so that it is beneficial for society and the environment. We also believe that the energy transition in Indonesia must be a transition to just and sustainable energy, namely energy that comes from renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and other energy that is managed based on the values and principles of justice, sovereignty, transparency, accountability, integrity/anti-corruption, prioritizing the preservation of environmental functions for humans, respecting the nobility of local customs/cultural traditions and increasing the resilience of people’s livelihoods as well as supporting efforts to overcome the climate crisis.”

The coalition also emphasize that the energy transition must be done inline with values such as:

“Accontable, transparent, and participatory”, “respect, fulfillment, and protection of human rights”, “ecological justice”, “economic justice”, and “transformative”.

“We will push these values and principles to the government and every party that will work together with the government in the development of the Indonesian energy sector, as a corridor for energy transition in Indonesia. We need to change how we develop energy, we know how dirty energy was built, and we don’t want old ways to be used in the development of renewable energy. What we don’t want is clear, we don’t want over exploitation, overproduction, and over consumption so there is no inequality. I encourage all of us to ensure that the energy transition is just and sustainable!”, said Ashov as the #BersihkanIndonesia coordinator.  


Declaration Can Be Accessed Through: