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Jakarta Post

Start them early: Renewable energy group visits schools, villages to raise awareness

  • Adrian Wail Akhlas

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, December 19, 2019   /   04:27 pm
Start them early: Renewable energy group visits schools, villages to raise awareness Powered by the sun: Students and teachers take a look at a solar farm at SMP 9 state junior high school in Jakarta. The school is one of the few to use the renewable source of energy in the capital city. (The Jakarta Post/Ricky Yudhistira)

With global warming disrupting the earth’s ecosystem and the world warming more quickly than expected, stakeholders are upping their game to campaign for the adoption of renewable energy to replace dirty power.
The recently formed Renewable Energy Alumni Association (ILUNET) of Darma Persada University has jumped on the bandwagon and is working to raise awareness about the importance of renewable energy through educational institutions such as vocational schools.

"We need to educate the youngsters about renewable energy because many of them are still unaware [about climate change] while in the future they will become important stakeholders [in the economy]," ILUNET chairwoman Henny Handayani said during the group’s visit to The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. 

While, demand has increased for training programs in renewable energy generation, Henny said more incentives should be provided to consumers and producers to encourage higher adoption. Public dissemination programs are especially crucial to raise awareness, she said, although many education institutions remain unfamiliar with the concept of renewable energy. Darma Persada is so far the only university in Indonesia to offer a master's degree in renewable energy.

For the majority of households in Indonesia, the price of installing solar panels is still too high. At present, a solar panel with a capacity of 1 kilowatt peak is priced at Rp 18 million (US$1,287). 

Meanwhile, local energy companies cite regulatory bottlenecks and the low economic value of renewable energy development as reasons for the sluggish progress.

With only five years left, many renewable energy stakeholders are skeptical about Indonesia’s chances of achieving its goal to have renewables make up 23 percent of the energy mix by 2025, as stipulated in the General Planning for National Energy (RUEN) road map.

Indonesia’s transition to clean energy has been slowed by domestic energy policies that remain focused on increasing energy access by providing fuel subsidies, observers say.

To promote the concept of renewable energy to Indonesians, ILUNET is looking to villages, which are home to around half of the country’s population, secretary-general Tifa Asrianti said.

The use of renewable energy in villages, she said, could boost local economies. One example is the coffee-producing village of Tangsi Jaya in Gununghalu district, West Java, where locals use micro hydro energy to roast raw coffee beans. The village now earns triple the revenue it did when it sold the coffee beans raw.

“We are looking to empower more villages through renewable energy programs,” Tifa said.

Indonesia has tremendous potential for wind, solar, geothermal and hydro power generation.