Demokrasi Energi Untuk Transisi Energi Berkeadilan

In order to mitigate climate change, energy transition is one of the issues prioritized to be discussed in the G20 Presidency of Indonesia 2022. Indonesia needs to utilize the G20 Presidency of Indonesia 2022’s momentum to accelerate the energy transition to green energy. This is crucial because Indonesia has pledged to achieve emission reduction targets in 2030 which are to reduce its emission by 29 percent with business as usual (BAU), and by up to 41 percent with international assistance.

However, the G20 energy transition potentially fails to bring change. On September 2th, 2022 previously, the ministerial meeting of the G20 countries for energy transitions or the Energy Transitions Ministerial Meeting (ETMM) only produced a chair’s summary and the Bali Compact which both agreement’s implementation is voluntary. If these two agreements are agreed upon in the G20 summit, there will be no responsibility whatsoever on the part of G20 countries to actually implement them.

The coal energy mix in Indonesia also has yet to stop showing an upward trend In 2022, the amount of coal energy mix in Indonesia is 68.7 percent, an increase from 54.7 percent in 2015. Meanwhile, the amount of renewable energy mix in Indonesia is still 12.8 percent in 2022, even decreasing from 13 percent in 2015.

In addition, currently, energy management policy in Indonesia is still centralized in a very top-down manner, causing a lack of participation from civil society. Because of that, energy management practice in Indonesia has yet to be democratic, this is shown by the lack of even energy distribution and energy management that harms local communities one-sidedly instead of helping them. For example, inequality in accessing electricity and economic damage to local communities in East Kalimantan.

Meanwhile, the government has claimed to push the concept of just energy transition in carrying out the G20 energy transition. Therefore, the G20 energy transition needs to be ensured that it is carried out fairly by utilizing the concept of energy democracy.

Energy democracy is a social movement concept that advocates for renewable energy transition by rejecting energy agenda dominated by fossil fuels and claims back democratic energy access The goal of energy democracy is to respect local communities’ autonomy over energy resources and management, democratic decision-making, reject various forms of environmental injustice, and promote just energy transition.

Undemocratic energy management

Ecology Action and People Emancipation (AEER) Association has found various testimonies and complaints from local communities in East Kalimantan Province regarding undemocratic electrical energy management there. This is caused by uneven electricity distribution and the community’s interest is not involved in energy management. These testimonies were conveyed through a Forum Group Discussion carried out by AEER in July 2022.

Power outages are common in East Kutai Regency. Even several villages in the Districts of Kaubun, Sandaran, and Karangan have yet to be able to access electricity. The same thing happens in several areas of Kutai Kertanegara Regency. Due to electricity scarcity, the local community has to buy personal diesel generators and solar panels. Electricity can only be accessed by some people from the community who can afford it.

Ironically, areas that struggle to access electricity are located within the vicinity of coal mines, which are the main producers of electrical energy sources. East Kalimantan is the largest coal producer in Indonesia with a contribution of 40.10 percent of total coal resources in Indonesia.

How can the largest coal-producing area, with coal as the main source of electrical energy have difficulty accessing electricity? The answer lies in the centralized system for managing and distributing electricity.

The utilization of coal fossil energy in the centralized electricity system also causes the lack of local community participation in energy management, causing environmental damage and affecting the local community. In 2022 alone, there are several areas where floods and landslides occurred due to coal mining, such as in Kutai Kartanegara Regency, East Kutai Regency, Balikpapan City, and Samarinda City.

This environmental damage causes the presence of electrical power plants instead of bringing prosperity, they damage the local community’s economy. For example, in the Bontang Lestari Village, around 200 seaweed fishermen were affected and many changed jobs because their seaweed cultivation location was getting narrow and narrower and lost due to pollution caused by the electrical power plant, such as the spreading of coal dust from coal barges in ship lanes and the disposal of hot water waste into the sea.

Green energy alone, is it enough?

Centralized energy system and coal fossil energy are two problems that are opposed in energy democracy principles. Only focusing on transitioning fossil energy to green energy alone won’t be enough as long as the energy system is still centralized.

The local community in Poso Lake, Central Sulawesi, for example, still lack of access to electricity even though there is a hydro power plant in the area managed by a private company. Instead of providing electricity access, the hydro power plant damages the local environment and harms the local community’s economy. Dredging and damming activities on the lake have disrupted the livelihoods of the community, the natural ecosystem of local eels.

Local farmers, fishermen, buffalo herders, and indigenous people demand compensation due to environmental problems and the unjust energy practice experienced by them. They feel that they are not involved, from socialization to decision-making related to the destructive hydro power development.

Energy Democracy is the solution

Energy democracy encourages the decentralized energy management system, becomes more community-based, and utilizes green energy that is friendly to the local community’s environment.

An example of the practice of energy democracy can be observed from the community-based energy management of a micro hydro power plant in Cinta Mekar Village, Subang, West Java.

In operating the green energy power plant with a maximum capacity of 120 KW, the community is directly involved in the process of development, management, and distribution of electricity in the Cinta Mekar Village area. The excess electricity capacity produced by the micro hydro power will be sold to State Electricity Company (PLN). Its proceeds will be given back to the community in the form of community subsidies, like school fees for children of the village, health subsidies, or village community business capital managed by the community itself through a cooperative system.

Not only that, the community is listed as the owner of 50 percent of the proceeds of the Cinta Mekar micro hydro power plant and the other 50 percent is owned by the private sector or investors.

The management of the micro hydro power plant in Cinta Mekar Village is an example of a decentralized energy management practice that utilizes green energy.  The local community can access the energy produced in their own area and develop their own economy because their environment is not damaged by one-sided decisions from outsiders.

The concept of energy democracy is important to be considered to be included in the discussion of a just energy transition. Energy democracy is in line with one of the strategic issues of energy transition in the G20 Presidency of Indonesia 2022, namely access to affordable, sustainable, and reliable energy.

This article is first published on,fosil%20dan%20mengklaim%20kembali%20akses%20energi%20secara%20demokratis.



Kunny Izza Indah A (AEER Energy Democracy Program Coordinator)

Pius Ginting (AEER Coordinator)

Share this article :

Aksi Ekologi & Emansipasi Rakyat berjuang memperluas ruang demokrasi dalam pengelolaan SDA berkelanjutan & membangun kesadaran ekologi politik rakyat