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Alternative pathway of energy transition: What options do we have other than fossil fuel? (Part 1)

Hello, this is Cynthia from Think-team. 😊

These days I have been working on exploring alternative options that Indonesia has besides fossil fuels to mitigate worsening climate change impacts. I think it will be a long discussion so allow me to divide it into a blog episode.

On this occasion, let me share with you what Indonesia is currently aiming to contribute to reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the energy sector.

As you may know, Indonesia has taken several important steps to address climate change that mainly happen due to international pressure such as UNFCCC ratification (1994) Kyoto Protocol ratification (2004), Paris agreement ratification (2016) in which renewable development becomes one of strategic policy. In fact, before ratifying the Paris agreement, Indonesia already initiated maximizing renewable use in electricity to reduce oil dependency. There are some options that the government considers to have positive impacts in reducing GHG emissions.

To reduce oil dependency, natural gas use emerges in addition to coal as an alternative while also resolving public concerns on clean air. Other than natural gas, the national government also promotes several less-carbon solutions such as fuel switching, co-firing, hybrid system, and clean coal technologies (CCT). Fuel switching is deployed at fossil-fuel-based power plants, for example, gas and biofuel use in diesel power plants. As mentioned, the national government still favors coal use to secure the system reliability hence promote technologies and practice to solely reduce the GHG emissions at the power plants such as co-firing with biomass and the clean coal technologies (CCT), i.e., sub-critical and ultra-supercritical boiler. The national government encourages co-firing with biomass at coal power plants and aims the ratio up to 30%. Such practices are encouraged under the regulation of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and Electricity Supply Business Plan by PLN (RUPTL).

Nevertheless, the aforementioned solutions then define the current system as still in ‘carbon lock-in’. The technologies do not disrupt our dependency on fossil fuels as the GHG contributor. Also, with the current energy system which is coal and carbon-intensive, we never know when and where a sudden ecological change could happen. As a person who experienced myself the horror of a storm in my hometown recently (i.e. Seroja cyclone), we should expect an unprecedented worse climate variability hitting a vulnerable community.

So, I think you will agree with me that we should explore clean energy options. I will stop my blog here, Next one, I will share with you the clean energy options from stakeholders' perspective that have different nature with the type of technologies I shared here. Maybe you can guess! 😉

See you on the next blog!

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