Indonesia is an archipelagic nation with over 17,000 islands and an incredible endowment of biodiversity. It is also the world’s fourth largest country by population and one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters. This is due mostly to burning of peat lands for agriculture, but Indonesia’s emissions from energy are also growing rapidly as its economy grows and it expands its use of coal for generating electricity.
The future of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has not yet been written. Coal’s proportion of Indonesia’s energy mix could continue to grow rapidly because it is cheap and locally available. Indonesian Government estimates from 2010 predict that power sector emissions will rise from 110 million tons of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2005 to 810 million tons by 2020 – largely due to increasing reliance on coal-fired power plants.
In August 2013, Indonesia’s Energy Council put forth another vision: a draft national energy plan in which renewable energy supplies at least 31 percent of Indonesia’s total energy mix by 2050 – a larger proportion than coal or any other fossil fuel! And the U.S. Government is doing more than ever to help Indonesia achieve that clean energy future.
As part of the three year-old U.S.–Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership — which includes enhanced cooperation on clean energy, nearly a dozen different federal U.S. agencies are helping Indonesia build its regulatory, financial, and technical capacity to achieve its ambitious clean energy goals. The largest of these efforts is the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s $332.5 million Green Prosperity Project. A principle aim of this project is to increase access to clean and reliable energy in rural areas and to support low-carbon development. Over the next five years this project (implemented through the Millennium Challenge Account – Indonesia) will provide technical and financial assistance for renewable energy and natural resource management projects that will raise rural household incomes, supporting the GOI’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fostering economic growth.
USAID is also working to advance renewable energy and GHG reductions through a number of initiatives, including the $16.2 million Indonesia Clean Energy Development (ICED) project and the $1.5 million Capacity for Indonesian Reduction of Carbon in Land Use and Energy (CIRCLE) program. ICED works with stakeholders to improve energy sector governance and promote investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The goal of ICED is to reduce energy sector emissions by four million tons of GHG equivalent by leveraging investments of $120 million and facilitating installation of at least 120 megawatts of renewable energy generation and providing clean energy access to 1.2 million people. The CIRCLE program aims to reduce GHG emissions from the palm oil industry by using palm oil mill effluent to fuel biogas power generation, and to lay the groundwork for replication of these projects at additional mills.
The Department of Energy also recently launched the $1.2 million Sustainable Energy for Remote Indonesia Grids project that will develop business feasibility cases for high-penetration renewable energy and energy efficient technologies to replace diesel generation on selected Indonesian islands and remote grids. The project will help mobilize private investment by demonstrating feasibility of those technologies in real world applications, initially focused on Sumba Island in eastern Indonesia.
The Department of the Treasury is funding a Technical Advisor (TA) position in Indonesia’s state-owned electricity utility, PLN. The TA is directly advising PLN’s renewable energy policy, planning, and project implementation efforts and is raising the institutional capacity of the New & Renewable Energy division.
In addition to these and other projects, several U.S. agencies are carrying out a wide range of bilateral or regional programs that are focused on renewable energy or climate change, including the Energy Policy Dialogue led by the Department of Energy, the U.S. Asia Pacific Comprehensive Energy Partnership led by the Department of State, and the Global Methane Initiative and Climate and Clean Air Coalition led by the EPA.
The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta helps coordinate these investments internally and with the Government of Indonesia – a true partnership for clean energy in Indonesia.
This guest blog post was written by officials at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to travel to Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines from October 6 – 12, 2013. During his visit, President Obama will meet with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono “to reaffirm our close bilateral ties and celebrate the third year of our Comprehensive Partnership,” according to a statement by the White House press secretary.
On a related note: on September 6, 2013, G-20 leaders (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union), as well as Ethiopia, Spain, Senegal, Brunei, Kazakhstan, and Singapore expressed support for using the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down climate-damaging hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a highly potent greenhouse gas.