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[biogas] Biggest challenge and consequence of Just Transition in developing countries.

Today I was preparing for my participation as a panellist in this online event, Just Transitions. There were two questions that I answered. For the record, I've also written them below.

Based on your experience and knowledge, what are the biggest challenges for a just transition in your region/sector/group?
How will the transition/just transition in the Global North/South affect the ability to deliver a just transition in your region/sector/group?

Based on your experience and knowledge, what are the biggest challenges for a just transition in your region/sector/group?

The biggest challenge is that there is no "new clean and free energy ideology". In the past, people believed that nuclear power would be a clean and free energy source, and this was the energy ideology. However, making energy from nuclear waste has not happened, and nuclear power itself is no longer considered clean. So this ideology of clean and free energy has disappeared.

This clean, free or very cheap energy is needed in developing countries like Indonesia, where development is still required. What has been the result? Indonesia, for example, is the only major country in the world where the electricity generation from coal is still increasing. This is because coal is very cheap in this country. But coal is not clean energy. LPG is a fossil fuel, but it is seen as clean energy for households that cook with firewood. 20-30% of Indonesian are still cooking with firewood, and they need clean and cheap energy. And to make this energy free or very affordable, Indonesia has spent Rp 7 Trillion (million times a million) in subsidies on LPG. It is the same amount as the government budget for energy planned for 2019. LPG does not have the ideology to be clean or free energy, so the more it is used, the more it has to be subsidised.

So what is the new clean and free energy ideology? "Renewable energy". Renewable energies produce energy almost free of charge once they are installed. So subsidies are used only for the installation, and the user does not have to pay for the energy usage. For example, we,, make cheap biogas digesters and distribute them to farmers. If the government subsidises our biogas digester installation, the government doesn't have to spend money on subsidies every time a farmer uses it.

I think this is because a lot of people are not aware of this new ideology. So the only way to achieve Just Transitions in energy issues in developing countries is for renewable energy to be recognised as the new clean and free energy ideology.

How will the transition/just transition in the Global North/South affect the to deliver a just transition in your region/sector/group?

Existing energy technologies require power lines to carry electricity, distribution networks, and transport infrastructure delivers LPG. Off-grid solar and micro-hydropower, for example, do not need to be connected to the grid, so the organisation does not need to have a lot of capacity, including installation costs. The same applies to biogas, where the producer is also the consumer. On an individual level, energy from existing power lines and distribution networks did not require any special capacity as the consumer only needed to consume. In the case of off-grid renewable energies such as solar power and biogas, the consumer becomes the producer and therefore needs to produce. So in off-grid areas where there is a real need for clean energy in the countryside in developing countries, we have to find out if there is a capacity to produce energy, and we have to choose the right energy. This is an example of how energy transitions affect the ability to provide energy.

Moreover, I am installing biogas digesters in these rural areas, and the next stage is to introduce blockchain for verification of usage, energy billing and emissions trading. When new technologies such as blockchain are brought to the countryside in developing countries simultaneously as renewable energy, they create new possibilities. These areas may not have the social infrastructure to transfer money securely or prove ownership of land. In the Global North, where there is a social infrastructure for transferring money and proving ownership, blockchain technologies can only help reduce operating costs. But in the Global South, where these social infrastructures do not exist, blockchain becomes a new trust-building infrastructure, and energy could unlock the ability to do business in previously impossible ways. In these places, we should introduce new technologies and Just Transitions to impact capacity positively.

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