In 2021, Indonesia's electricity consumption totaled 129.3 watts per person, a considerable distance below the global average of 412 watts per person. The bulk of this electricity stemmed from fossil fuels, making up a sizeable 105.45 watts per person. Breaking it down further, this included 79.21 watts from coal and 23.46 watts from gas. The remainder was derived from oil, generating a minor 2.77 watts per person. In stark comparison, low-carbon energy accounted for a mere 23.44 watts per person, with hydropower, geothermal, and biofuels comprising 10.3, 6.63, and 6.25 watts respectively. Almost negligible amounts of electricity came from wind and solar energy, each adding just 0.18 and 0.08 watts per person. The resulting electricity generation levels in Indonesia, being significantly lower than the global average, might limit economic growth, hinder technological advancements, and exacerbate energy poverty. However, it is important to note that Indonesia barely relies on net electricity imports, which make up only 0.31% of its total electricity consumption.
To bolster its low-carbon electricity generation, Indonesia can draw inspiration from various successful strategies employed by other countries. A glance at similar tropical environments offers valuable insights. For instance, Brazil generates 43 watts per person from wind energy and Australia, despite its deemed potential, produces 147 and 128 watts per person from solar and wind energy respectively. Further afield, countries such as Denmark and Sweden generate massive 369 and 363 watts per person from wind energy. Indonesia could also venture into nuclear energy, as has been effectively done by countries like Sweden, France, and Finland, boasting figures of 559, 526, and 517 watts per person. Exploring these diverse sources of low-carbon energy could help Indonesia not only increase its overall electricity supply but also reduce its heavy reliance on fossil fuels.
Indonesia's history in low-carbon electricity mainly centers around hydropower and biofuels, with geothermal energy playing a minor yet steady role since the late 2010s. The 1980s witnessed a somewhat inconsistent pattern in hydropower, with a surge in 1986 (2 TWh) followed by a dip in 1982 (-1.6 TWh). The 1990s saw a similar trend with an increase in 1992 (2.2 TWh), slightly set back by a decline in 1997 (-3 TWh). However, the 2000s brought a significant rise in hydropower, peaking in 2010 (6.1 TWh), with minimal setbacks in 2002 and 2011. The last decade ushered in a more consistent growth, particularly in 2016 (4.9 TWh), and introduced geothermal energy into the mix in 2017 (2.1 TWh) along with a massive surge in biofuels in 2018 (12.7 TWh). This upward trend in low-carbon energy exhibits a slow yet progressive shift in Indonesia's energy sector that could potentially pave the way for larger transformations in the future.