Jakarta – Community groups and communities are crucial in transitioning to clean energy sources. They need to manage the energy transition at the local level. Although renewable energy utilization in Indonesia has started to develop at the community level, there are still obstacles, especially regarding human resources and financing. On the one hand, although the electrification rate in Indonesia in 2020 reached 99.2 percent, 0.8 percent of un-electrified areas are in rural areas near local communities. The problem of limited supply is an obstacle to people enjoying electricity and clean energy throughout the day.

On Saturday, November 25, 2023, Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Indonesia presented Magdalena Rianghepa, Program Manager of Yayasan Pengkajian dan Pengembangan (YPPS), East Flores, East Nusa Tenggara and Mouna Wasef from PWYP Indonesia as speakers on Instagram Live as part of #ClimateActionWeek with the theme Community Leadership in Energy Transition.

Local communities are a significant force in the energy transition towards a sustainable future and have been at the forefront of many activities in East Flores, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). Magdalena, one of the main actors in YPPS (Yayasan Pengkajian dan Pengembangan), shared her success story in strengthening the community through various initiatives such as the Coconut School and Rumah Jemur.

The Coconut School, initiated by YPPS, aims not only to empower coconut farmers in community economic development but also to explore the potential of coconut as a renewable energy source in the context of energy transition. Through this education, farmers are trained in coconut processing for local economic improvement and to consider the potential of coconut as a renewable energy source, such as biodiesel and bioethanol, while maintaining environmental sustainability and ecosystem stability.

On the other hand, Mouna from PWYP Indonesia shared experiences related to capacity building for stakeholders nationwide. She highlighted the challenges faced at the national level while local communities still need to catch up in understanding the concept of energy transition. Adapting to government programs related to energy transition is also one of the main obstacles.

Magdalena emphasized the importance of government and private sector support for climate change action and energy transition. She illustrated an individual’s contribution to the private sector in Flores who helped his community. For her, the success of community empowerment is highly dependent on the support of existing resources. With this support, gatherings will be more motivated to develop their potential.

Mouna voiced the need for socialization and a broader understanding of the energy transition issue. According to her, the government needs to decompose existing regulations to understand their direct impact at the local level.

Finally, Mouna highlighted that the shift to renewable energy opens up great opportunities to build community-scale projects with capacities below 5 MW. The use of technologies such as solar panels, biogas, micro-hydro, and others have great potential in driving the energy transition at the community level.

The various stories and views show that community strengthening and energy transition are interrelated. Support from the government and the private sector, and better understanding from the local to the national level, are crucial to achieving a sustainable energy future for Indonesia.

Author: Ersya Shafira Nailuvar
Reviewer: Aryanto Nugroho