Indonesia’s energy sector seeing insignificant changes: Lawmakers

Marguerite Afra Sapiie

The Jakarta Post

Two years after getting into office, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla have not yet been able to make significant changes to improve Indonesia’s energy and mineral resources sector, lawmakers have said.

House of Representatives deputy speaker Agus Hermanto said Indonesia’s energy resilience had continued to decline because the government still relied on fossil fuels and had yet to significantly develop renewable energy sources despite the existence of the 2014 Geothermal Law the House passed to eliminate obstacles for the country to develop geothermal energy.

As Indonesia had officially ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change, Agus said, the Jokowi administration should maximize the use of the country’s potential geothermal energy, which could produce an estimated 29 gigawatts of electricity and be environmentally friendly.

“Geothermal energy fulfills the principles of mitigating impacts to the climate. [In Indonesia] the utilized geothermal energy currently amounts to only around 5 percent of the total potential. Therefore, we should boost its development,” Agus told journalists on Thursday.

A member of the House’s Commission VII overseeing energy, Rofi Munawar, said the implementation of the government’s national energy reorientation program was still far from what had been targeted, even though it had been supported by a national law. The program mandates more development and use of new and renewable energy.

The lawmaker further criticized the government’s poor commitment to implementing the 2009 Mining Law, which required mining firms to process minerals in local smelters before selling them overseas. He referred to the government’s plan to ease raw ore exports for companies that had not finished building smelters. (ebf)