Indonesia is the 4th most populous country in the world. With over 273 million people, it also has some of the fastest-growing economies on earth. As the population grows, so do Indonesia’s energy demands. This leaves Indonesians vulnerable to unstable fossil fuel markets, as reliance on oil imports for electricity generation pushes up prices for local consumers.
However, biomass energy could be a potential solution to this problem. With its stable supply of renewable resources and growing number of technological advancements, there are reasons to believe that Indonesia could become a leader in biomass energy production.
The term biomass energy refers to any form of fuel that contains organic material. As mentioned earlier, biomass energy provides a sustainable, clean, and low-cost alternative to conventional fossil fuels. Its renewable nature also makes it ideal for urban and rural settings.
Over the last few decades, Indonesia has made significant progress in achieving socioeconomic development and energy independence. Its economy has more than tripled since 1970, and it has a GDP per capita that’s approximately 10% higher than that of its Asian counterpart. The country’s growing middle-class is also less dependent on fossil fuel imports. This places the country in a favorable position to shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources.
Biomass energy sources such as forest and agricultural waste offer many advantages over other sources of energy, such as oil, gas, and coal, in terms of its carbon content. The emission of carbon is the major cause of global warming, and Indonesia’s emissions account for about 4 percent of its global total.
Due to the extremely high carbon content of biomass, its conversion to energy has low carbon emission. In fact, a study conducted by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has estimated that the use of biomass energy could reduce Indonesia’s carbon emissions by up to 5.8 million tons annually. This, of course, would be a significant contribution to the country’s climate change commitments.
The Possibilities of Biomass Energy in Indonesia
Biomass energy uses natural organic materials found on or in the forest. Plants, animals, waste products, and decomposing organic matter, are commonly used as a source of biomass energy. Biomass energy offers a very wide variety of resources and possibilities, given the various raw materials and energy producing mechanisms that can be used. Such as biomass burning, soil biogas, wood charcoal, and wood gas. These are typically classified under different segments, based on its characteristics.
For Indonesia, the energy sector is heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Indonesia is among the most energy-dependent countries in the world. The Asia-Pacific region as a whole is looking for alternatives to fossil fuels. Many people are turning away from coal-fired power stations, as well as other forms of dirty energy, such as oil and gas. In Indonesia, around 45% of energy is being produced by fossil fuels. This is causing the country to fall behind its peers.
Fossil fuels are bad for the environment in any country. They contribute to global warming, which is the process of heating the planet.
The country must increase its use of renewable energy sources if it is to become a developed economy. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), around 42% of Indonesia’s energy needs will be met by renewable sources by 2025.
How can Indonesia implement this solution?
It’s no secret that Indonesia needs to change its current energy strategy to avoid serious consequences. According to the Clean Energy Coalition, Indonesia needs to generate 41,670 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy each year by 2023. As of 2019, the country was averaging at around 10,000 GWh. While this isn’t a horrible number, it’s nowhere near the amount that’s needed.
If Indonesia wants to be taken seriously as a global leader, it needs to make an effort to increase its renewable energy consumption. Indonesia has only recently started to work toward this goal, and implementing a plan that increases the amount of renewable energy will help achieve the country’s goals. An increase in renewable energy generation will save Indonesia money over time as well.
The potential of biomass energy in Indonesia has yet to be realized. It holds the potential to generate electricity for a growing population, which could in turn lead to reduced reliance on oil imports.
Over the next 10 years, Indonesia’s economy is forecasted to grow by more than 5% per year. In order to fully utilize the country’s potential, it will need to do much more than just develop a greater energy infrastructure. This is a very common problem faced by many developing nations. Indonesia’s geography makes its future economically unsustainable unless there is a major overhaul of its power generation. If Indonesia fails to do this, the energy revolution that has been underway for the past decade will stall. Even worse, energy demand growth in Indonesia could soon decline.