West Nusa Tenggara discusses energy transition journey at SPIREC 2023

Speakers and moderators during the SPIREC Community Event on 100% Renewable Cities and Regions: Argentina, Indonesia, and Kenya.

With the population of urban areas around the world expected to dramatically grow anywhere from  5.6 to 7.1 billion or by 64 to 69% globally by 2050, local energy demands are also expected to skyrocket. According to the IPCC, these urban areas are responsible for 71 to 76% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. Cities around the world are pledging to shift to 100% clean energy to maintain sustainability amidst this concern.

Coming together to discuss game-changing opportunities and challenges related to the energy transition, West Nusa Tenggara (WNT) in Indonesia alongside Kenya and Argentina joined SPIREC 2023 in Madrid, Spain on 21 to 23 February 2023 to share key insights on their journey as part of local and regional governments (LRGs) participating in the 100% Renewables Cities and Regions Roadmap project.

Rohit Sen, the Head of the ICLEI Sustainable Energy Team, led one of the SPIREC panels which focused on presenting the developments of the 100% Renewable Energy Roadmap project in Argentina, Kenya, and Indonesia. 

The session shared local perspectives on the hurdles and opportunities involved in implementing the sustainable energy transition in the LRGs’ respective jurisdictions. The discussion also explored energy-related challenges at the community level, including  how local action on renewable energy can help tackle these hurdles, as well as how cities and regions can spur action at the national level through multi-level governance.

Renewable’s major role in pursuing net-zero and energy security in WNT

With an ambition of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, ten years ahead of the national 2060 target, WNT is committed to the clean energy transition, as evidenced by the establishment of the Regional Energy Plan (RUED-P) in 2019, and reaffirmed in WNT’s vision towards achieving 100% community-level renewable energy status in all sectors by 2050.

In the photo above (left to right), Daniela Mastrangelo (Rosario City, Argentina), Evans Gichana (Kisumu County, Kenya), Grace Karanja (Nakuru County, Kenya), Niken Arumdati, (West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia), and Nilce Savina Gregoret (Avellaneda City, Argentina) during the panel discussion.

Addressing the major concerns of energy supply and security in the province during the panel discussion, Niken Arumdati, Secretary of Department of Energy and Mineral Resources of WNT Province, who participated as representative speaker, shared the importance of speeding up the energy transition.

“In most cases, the rainy season and bad weather can affect our energy supply which comes from other regions. Transitioning to renewable energy based on our identified potential is the best solution to cut our dependence on fossil fuels and increase our energy security,” said Niken.

The WNT government has forged a partnership with the state-run electricity company (PLN) to implement biomass co-firing and enhance traditional power plants (PLTU) with non-fossil fuel-based mechanisms. The feedstock is sourced from RDF pellets which are made from municipal wastes, wood chips, and rice husks.

The province is currently undertaking two co-firing projects in the island of Lombok–using up to 5% RDF pellets for PLTU 3 x 25 MW–and in Sumbawa Regency–using up to 10% RDF pellets for PLTU 2 x 7 MW.

Developing green tourism to accelerate the net-zero commitment

Considering the potential of the tourism industry in the region, the WNT government sees the importance of developing a sustainable tourism sector and completing green energy infrastructures across the province.

In this regard, Lalu Adi Gunawan, Climate Adaptation Researcher and Regional Development and Spatial Planning expert of WNT province, said “We intend to establish a reputation as a green and inclusive tourist destination. In terms of inclusivity, we also want to establish what we refer to as DEWI, which stands for Desa Wisata or village tourism destination.” 

The DEWI concept aims to promote all potential tourism destinations in the province’s villages and urges all partners involved to utilize renewable energy for daily operations. This program is expected to build public awareness and accelerate the green energy transition in the region.

Key learnings and takeaways

Transitioning to 100% renewable energy utilization poses both opportunities and challenges in many areas. With cities and regions at the frontlines of sustainability, establishing a clean energy framework with LRGs becomes one of the most prominent solutions to tackling climate change.

Building cities and regions renewable energy roadmaps is a catalyst to helping governments achieve their ambition of reaching net zero. However the journey to reach the goal will require inclusive involvement and commitment from every stakeholder group. 

Given the unique context of these LRGs from the Global South, some of their key learnings highlighted during the SPIREC panel include:

  • Multilevel governance is needed in achieving emissions targets as local governments have limitations in resources. Energy-related policy and recommendations are also heavily governed under the national regulations.
  • Access to climate and energy finance holds a key role to local energy transition yet remains a challenge for local governments.
  • Collaboration with stakeholders from all levels such as the national government is needed to support access to knowledge and funding. Equally important is the establishment of collaborations with various parties such as the community stakeholders, NGOs, academics, and business players in the development of renewable energy to build synergies in overcoming local challenges.

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