Just Energy Transition: Beware of False Solutions

Just Energy Transition: Beware of False Solutions

Press Release

AEER Association and 350 Indonesia

Denpasar, September 25, 2022

The G20 has clearly mentioned the transition to sustainable energy as one of its prioritized issues. Unfortunately, the G20 has failed in reaching an agreement, a communique at the ministerial level. However, another issue that is currently emerging is the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) mechanism. The next question is whether this JETP will promote a truly just energy transition, or will it only be used to encourage false solutions that do not address the challenges of the climate crisis and the environmental damage caused by fossil energy.

Ketut Mangku Wijana, a resident around a coal-fired power plant, PLTU Celukang Bawang, testified that his coconut tree had never been molted before. Unlike recent previous years after the coal-fired power plant had been built. The cause of the molting of his coconut trees is not pests, because there isn’t any tree that is infested by pests. The trees are in fine condition on another plantation, located further from PLTU Celukan Bawang. “The project impact is atrocious, whether at the moment or in the long term. The impact on food crops, coconut trees, cashew nuts, and other plants.”

The negative impact is not limited to the trees, the B3 waste from PLTU Celukan Bawang was dumped on the side of the road Sumberkima area, Buleleng. Used as backfill material for buildings. “This is what we don’t know, whether the public doesn’t know that it is B3 waste or the community themselves ask for backfill material or it is deliberately offered to the public.”

In southern Bali, the planned construction of an LNG Terminal as a part of the energy transition also has the potential to damage the environment. Made Krisna Dinata, Director of Walhi Bali, said “The construction of this LNG terminal will be carried out by sacrificing 14.5 hectares of mangroves due to dredging activities that will cause damage to coral reefs that function as the protection of the Sanur coast.

Khamid Istakhori from Global Organizing Academy, Building and Wood Workers International Building, stated that PLTU’s establishment is not only harming the environment but also falsely promoting coal-fired power plants as the creation of many job opportunities. “Worker unions and environmental activists are both parts of the community who are the victims of this coal-fired plants policy. So, there must be a fair solution for all parties, including the workers,” said Khamid.

Meanwhile, Sisilia Nurmala Dewi, 350 Indonesia Asia Managing Director, stated that the expansion of fossil energy is the biggest problem facing this generation, and the transition is also being pushed through by Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP). JETP is funding from developed countries for energy transition and the first opportunity was given to South Africa, specifically the public electricity provider company there, namely ESKOM. The same scheme is predicted to be also applied in Indonesia.

On the other hand, Kunny Iza, Ecology Action and People Emancipation (AEER) researcher, said that environmental issues are inseparable from social and economic issues. However, in the economic issue, always only the government and the private sector perspective that is taken into account while the community perspective is ignored, therefore energy democracy is needed. “There are five basic principles of energy democracy, namely universal access and social justice, local, renewable and sustainable energy, public and social ownership, fair payment of wages and creation of green jobs, participatory control by the people.”

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