Pediatrician, Elon Musk and Indonesian Renewable Energy

By: Firmansyah*

power plant illustration

“Will a coal-fired power plant operate in Bengkulu? When? It’s terrible, especially when the wind blows the pollution into residential areas,” said Abul Khair, a pediatrician in Bengkulu City, starting my interview as a journalist in Bengkulu City on Tuesday (11/11). /9/2018), ago.

This senior pediatrician in Bengkulu City predicts that if the PLTU operates there will be many inherited diseases caused by pollution.

“There will be many people suffering from lung disease, shortness of breath. When the lungs are in trouble, the oxygen intake to all organs of the body is problematic (and) can attack the immune system. When the body lacks oxygen supply plus decreased immunity, then a person will be easily ridden with inherited diseases such as lung cancer, stroke, heart disease, and respiratory infections, including pneumonia,” he said worriedly (Firmansyah, 2018).

From his experience, many children living in a factory environment have a history of shortness of breath to the lungs. The condition gets worse when the home environment does not have good air circulation. Abul Khair admits that he is worried if the power plant operates, especially hereditary diseases caused by pollution. He predicts that with the operation of a coal-fired power plant in Bengkulu City, shortness of breath and lung disease will increase sharply, especially among children.

Abul Khair’s concern is directly proportional to Greenpeace data in 2015 which states that poor air quality in Indonesia is caused by industry, motor vehicles, and community activities. Greenpeace extremely states that the results of its research per year PLTU in the city of Jakarta alone causes premature deaths of 5,260 people, this number will increase to 1,680 if the construction of PLTU in Jakarta continues. (Greenpeace, 2015).

Another story we take from Elon Musk, a rich person who can see the opportunities of New and Renewable Energy (EBT). The Bloomberg index tracks the 500 richest people in the world on Wednesday (11/25/2020) quoted from, Elon Musk reached the latest position in the list of the world’s richest people. His wealth soared after the shares of the electric car manufacturer reached a record high. This achievement brings Musk’s net worth to USD 127.9 billion.

Throughout 2020, Musk’s Tesla shares surged nearly 524 percent, pushing Musk’s fortune to increase to more than $100 billion. As is known, Tesla is one of the electric car manufacturers. Tesla sales continue to increase despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reading the high demand for electric cars, Elon Musk has built a number of wind-based power plants in several countries on the European continent. Electricity consumption will continue to multiply, expansion of the use of renewable energy such as solar, solar, geothermal, something that must be done, Musk believes. Availability of clean energy is a big challenge. It’s impossible to neglect the construction because of today’s electric cars are driven by batteries, no longer using fossil fuels. The prediction is that the shift from high carbon emission fuels to green energy will take two decades (Tobing, 2020).


Musk’s brilliant action was also quickly followed by a number of other world-class car manufacturers by investing hundreds of trillions of rupiah in research and technology for EBT-based cars.

Pediatricians Abul Khair and Elon Musk are illustrations that I took to predict the future of Indonesia if the use of renewable energy is implemented optimally. The prediction is that Indonesia will become the country of “Gemah Ripah Loh Jinawi” (Peaceful, Prosperous and fertile).


Paris Charter
Saturday (12/12/2015) night Paris entered winter. President of the 21st United Nations Summit on Climate Change (Conference of Parties/COP), Laurent Fabius announced that the Paris Agreement (Paris Agreement) contained five important points that are expected to be able to combat the effects of climate change. The Paris Agreement is a binding international agreement as a joint committee of the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that will be implemented after 2020. This agreement replaces the Kyoto Protocol.

I covered the COP 21 agenda for almost two weeks in Le Bourget, Paris, and took a deep breath to hear the contents of the ambitious Paris Agreement. The agreement was discussed for 12 days by almost all world heads of state, including those present at the time, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and former Indonesian President Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY).

The five agreements are, first, world countries are committed to maintaining the threshold for increasing the earth’s temperature below 2 degrees Celsius (2C) and trying to reduce it to 1.5 C. Second, a transparent carbon accounting system and emission reductions. Third, adaptation efforts by strengthening the ability of countries to cope with the impacts of climate change. Fourth, strengthen recovery efforts due to climate change, from damage. Fifth aid, including funding for countries to build green and sustainable economies.

Indonesia’s proposals accommodated in the agreement include differentiation or differences in obligations between developed and developing countries, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) Program, implementation of the Paris Agreement action, finance, technological transformation and improvement of human resources.


Indonesia’s intention to reduce emissions is reflected in the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) referring to the Paris Agreement (Paris Agreement) produced at the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 in Paris in 2015. Indonesia is committed to reducing emissions by 29 percent below the threshold (by its own efforts). ) or 314 million tons of CO2 in 2030 and 41 percent with international support. To achieve this, Indonesia has begun to switch to investing in NRE, until 2030. Emission reduction is also carried out by taking steps in the energy sector in the form of shifting fuel subsidies to the productive sector. In addition, Indonesia also has a target of increasing the use of renewable energy sources to 23 percent of national energy consumption by 2025.

How is the Realization in Indonesia?

Until April 2021, the government claims that the realization of the new and renewable energy mix will reach 13.55 percent. The government admits that this achievement is a bit laggy if it has to meet the target of 23 percent of national energy consumption by 2025. Based on the condition of providing national electricity infrastructure, Indonesia is recorded to have an energy capacity of 72,888 megawatts, dominated by 86.45 percent of which is fossil energy. Indonesia has a commitment to achieve a clean energy mix of 23 percent by targeting the installed capacity of environmentally friendly electricity to reach 24,000 megawatts by 2025 (Pratiwi, 2021).
A study from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources states that in order to achieve the target of 23 percent, Indonesia will need funds of Rp. 1,600 trillion according to the 2016 report of the Team for the Acceleration of New Renewable Energy Development (P2EBT), 2016. The high cost of this funding is also recognized by President Joko Widodo.


In the midst of COP 21 Paris in 2015, the Indonesian delegation was worried that if they received questions from foreign journalists regarding the plan to build steam power plants in a number of places in the country, did the development not violate the commitments in the Paris Agreement? That concern disappeared, Indonesia’s commitment to stop the use of PLTU, President Joko Widodo ordered no more construction of new Steam Power Plants (PLTU) in the period 2021-2030.


This target is reflected in the Electricity Supply Business Plan (RUPTL) for 2021-2030. However, the PLTU construction plan which has already entered the stage of financial closing or the construction process can still be continued. After that, the construction of power plants will be focused on new and renewable energy (EBT) (Hastuti, 2021).

Indonesia 100 Percent Use NRE in 2050

The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) in May 2021 launched its latest study entitled “Deep Decarbonization of Indonesia’s Energy System: a Pathway to Zero-Emission by 2050”. This report shows that technically and economically Indonesia is capable of achieving zero emissions in its energy system by 2050 Thus, Indonesia should be able to meet the Paris target of limiting global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

This report is the first comprehensive report looking at the energy system in Indonesia covering power generation, transportation, and industry. The results of this modeling are in line with the latest IEA (International Energy Agency) report which states that solar and wind power will dominate the energy mix in 2050, because of the cost of generating renewable energy in Indonesia, especially from solar energy, will be cheaper. In the long term, there are several advantages to achieving zero emissions in the energy system by 2050, among others, system costs and Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) which are cheaper than if Indonesia continues to do business as usual. This means that people will enjoy cheaper electricity prices. Pamela Simamora, the lead author of this report, added that other benefits of Indonesia achieving zero emissions by 2050, such as millions of jobs that will grow (

The ambition to make NRE 100 percent of Indonesia’s energy by 2050 is an aspiration that can be achieved if political policies, budget portion, managerial, international lobbying and human resource development continue to be boosted. There are many paths that can be taken to fulfill this ambition. IESR research is difficult to realize if it is not used as a reference by the government as a policy.
Indonesia must be optimistic about the potential of EBT, in Sumatra, Bengkulu Province, I take the example of saving 7.2 gigawatt (GW) of electrical energy from Renewable Energy (EBT). Meanwhile, nationally, based on projections from ESDM for the period 2019 to 2023, Indonesia needs 173 GW of electricity. This means that if the EBT potential in Bengkulu is optimized, it can meet the national electricity needs of 12.6 percent, enough for Sumatra.

Program Manager of the Energy Transformation Institute for Essential Service Reform (IESR) Janata Giwangkara revealed that EBT in Bengkulu Province reached 7,297 megawatts (MW) or 7.2 gigawatts (GW) but the potential for renewable energy has only been utilized at 259 MW and its use is dominated by hydroelectric power plants. . Nationally, the potential for renewable energy in Indonesia reaches 431,745 MW, but the installed or newly utilized capacity for electricity is only 6,830 MW. According to him, the potential for renewable energy in Indonesia has not been developed optimally when compared to other ASEAN countries, especially Vietnam in two to three years building 3 GW of renewable energy (Firmansyah, 2020).

Indonesia has complete requirements as a leading country in utilizing NRE, pediatrician Abul Khair’s hint of the dangers of fossil energy if it continues to be maintained for the younger generation and Elon Musk’s sharp intuition and instinct to see NRE as a profit producer are loud bells indicating that we should not underestimate the potential of EBT in the world. Archipelago.

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