Jakarta, June 19, 2023-Efforts to accelerate Indonesia’s energy transition continue with a meeting described as a civil society dialogue on 12 June 2023 in Jakarta by the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) Indonesia Secretariat [1]. JETP is one of five financing schemes to accelerate Indonesia’s energy transition [2]. The meeting invited elements of civil society, intergovernmental and/or international institutions, and representatives of developed country members of the International Partners Group (IPG) forum in the context of financing the acceleration of energy transition, particularly JETP investment scheme. More than 40 civil society organization representatives provided feedback, considerations, and demands for a just energy transition.

The meeting started with a socialization program from the government and the JETP Secretariat, followed by a directed discussion which the JETP secretariat divided into five technical groups on JETP investment focus areas: Transmission and Distribution Network Development; Early Retirement of Coal-Fired Power Plants; Acceleration of Baseload Type Renewable Energy Utilization; Acceleration Variable Type Renewable Energy Utilization; and Renewable Energy Supply Chain Development. Various feedback from civil society clearly indicated the need for a paradigm shift in approaching energy transition, that is for a people and planet centered energy. A consequence of that paradigm shift is economic democratization as mandated in the 1945 Constitution Article 33 Paragraph 4.

“The government’s concept of energy transition departs from the targets to be achieved, which are highly focused on Net Zero Emission (NZE), not on how economic democratization can be applied. The principle of economic democratization should come first and the targets should be developed with the people with the NZE target as a reference because it refers to the global target. We worry that their approach will be immensely top-down, with no shift in power relations, one of which will enable labor unions to be energy producers or the people in general to be energy ‘farmers’. Justice is impossible without fixing the system, without a change in power relations,” said Julia Novrita, Director of Program and Development at The Habibie Center, in response to the meeting.

Other important feedback as a consequence of a people and planet centered energy is the decentralization of energy and support for community-based renewable energy development. In the context of JETP, there is unfortunately no definite support for community-based renewable energy development and that transition in the JETP perspective focuses solely on large-scale infrastructures and is ultimately centralized. 

“As long as Indonesia’s energy transition perspective, including the JETP scheme, only accommodates large-scale projects, the principle of justice will be more marginalized. Just energy transition will be more meaningful if the people are not only positioned as consumers but also producers of energy. This is possible by incorporating a decentralized energy system in its planning, involving local communities as strategic partners in energy transition, and establishing renewable energy production closer to places of energy consumption,” added Jeri Asmoro, a campaigner of 350.org Indonesia.

All five investment focus areas and its projects under the JETP scheme carry environmental, social, and economic risks with far-reaching and long-lasting impacts. Negative impacts in many investment focus areas have already occurred, as plenty of projects relevant to those investment focus areas are underway. This should be a lesson in developing a plan. A careful and preventive approach is very important to use. Civil society has given various feedback regarding policy interventions and governance improvements in the meeting. As the urgency of the climate crisis intensifies, transformative policy interventions and governance improvements, coupled with meaningful, broad, and transparent public consultation and participation must be  prioritized.

“We have to transition from a pattern of extractive, exploitative, and centralized energy supply to a regenerative and democratic energy supply that stands with the people and living environment in a just and sustainable way. Energy transition must be coupled with governance and institutional transformation, combined with actions that are in line with the Paris Agreement to prevent a maximum global average temperature rise of 1.5℃,” concluded Beyrra Triasdian, Program Manager at Trend Asia.

It is very important for the drafters of Indonesia’s energy transition scheme like the JETP Secretariat to know and understand reality in the field. Radical information transparency, including comprehensive investment policy planning documents, should be easily and freely accessible and open for feedback from the general public within a framework of meaningful public participation from the outset. Without radical transparency before all else, the word Just in JETP will only be candy to an unsustainable transition.  

Editor notes:



[3]:Prinsip Nilai Transisi Berkeadilan #BersihkanIndonesia

Photo by Melvinas Priananda/Trend Asia