Indonesia’s Energy Transformation from Fossil fuels to Biodiesel: Challenge and Opportunity

Discussion on renewable energy continues to be encouraged by a number of stakeholders for reasons of limited sources of fossil energy. Fossil energy is running low with the world’s enormous energy needs. But not only that, fossil energy is a form of energy that has a bad impact on the environment because it produces high carbon dioxide and is harmful to public health. Fossil energy is believed to be the main cause of increasing global temperatures. Therefore this situation encourages a number of countries including Indonesia to be able to encourage changes in domestic energy by using fuels that combine fossil fuels and biodiesel with components reaching 30-35%.

Indonesia is one of the countries that actively encourages the reduction of fossil energy by targeting the achievement of Net Zero Emissions (NZE) in 2060. Indonesia’s presidency in the G20 resulted in a meeting and dialogue that resulted in a global solution to the problem of the energy crisis due to the geopolitical crisis in the European region from the start year 2022. Fossil energy is a political commodity that will become a problem when geopolitical changes occur in a certain area. So that the solution that is considered good by the world today is that all countries must carry out energy transformation as an alternative to reduce dependence on fossil energy and reduce climate change and reduce the burden on the State Revenue and Expenditure Budget. Fossil energy is considered as energy that burdens the Indonesian economic system.

Indonesia has carried out an energy transformation by encouraging a green energy policy from using fossil energy using conventional methods, using fossil energy using modern technology to reduce carbon emission residues which results in higher earth temperatures to encourage green energy or sustainable energy such as biodiesel energy, biofuel energy. and other renewable energies. Renewable energy such as biofuels and biodiesel have challenges that are not easy for Indonesia.

One of the unavailability of certain raw materials, as well as raw materials for biofuel energy and biodiesel energy, collide with the needs of the community. Biodiesel energy has a risk in the energy crisis and cooking oil crisis (food and fuel) used crude palm oil or use cooking oil. However, it is highly unlikely that the Indonesian government will carry out this reliance on the use of cooking oil because until now regulations regarding the collection of raw materials for use of cooking oil do not yet exist in Indonesia, so it is still in a small stage. Therefore, the energy generated from using cooking oil is still small compared to the energy needs of the Indonesian people.

Seeing biodiesel energy is not only in terms of its advantages because it can reduce dependence on fossil energy and reduce global climate change but the impact of transforming fossil energy into sustainable energy has a negative impact on a country’s economy. There are many forms of adjustment that must be made by Indonesia, namely, Indonesia must reduce mining activities for fossil energy such as coal which is one of the largest contributing sectors to the Indonesian state budget. In addition, if the Indonesian government has to convert energy into biodiesel energy, it must provide transportation with a capacity and engine design that is in accordance with the composition of biodiesel energy. Meanwhile, transportation or vehicles in Indonesia are still designed to use fossil energy. There are many adjustments that must be made by Indonesia with a very large change fund. Furthermore, Indonesia must make policy regulations for the use of cooking oil so that it can help produce biodiesel energy, not on a large scale using CPO.

Meanwhile, using biofuel energy by relying on the use of vegetable-based waste is considered very cheap and environmentally friendly, but biofuel energy can only contribute on a small scale, so if energy is dependent on biofuel, it will cause an unavailability of domestic energy. Bioful energy is only capable of being an alternative energy, not the main energy supply in Indonesia. Imagining biofuel energy as energy that supports the long-term Indonesian economy because it is free from the large cost of fossil energy subsidies is very wrong.

Meanwhile, if Indonesia pushes for a number of renewable energies, for example Indonesia focuses on biofuel energy and biodiesel energy, this is a policy that will not be easy because the two energy systems have different production technologies. So that the impact on the Indonesian economy is getting higher.

Therefore talking about the economy, energy and climate change is trapped in a complicated circle. Developing countries that force themselves to push for renewable energy with an unsettled economic system will cause countries like Indonesia to be trapped in a developing economic system and find it difficult to progress because of the many changes that must be adapted to green energy-based development, especially in the industrial and transportation sectors.

Indonesia as a developing country and one of the G20 member countries pushing for a green economy must push for changes that are consistent with policies that are of course pro-renewable energy from all sectors. With this political situation, Indonesia must first ensure vehicle engine modifications because biodiesel fuel is difficult to vaporize and use a fuel tank heating system to prevent oxidation. Meanwhile, vehicle engines in Indonesia are still being designed for fossil-based vehicle engines. Biodiesel energy stored for a long time will affect the quality of the biodiesel and cause clogging of the filter and deposits on the vehicle’s fuel pump and injectors.

Therefore, if Indonesia continues to push for a renewable policy based on biodiesel, it must increase the use of sufficient technology to reduce the risks to vehicles. Furthermore, if the energy transformation policy becomes a long-term goal, the government must encourage changes slowly regarding changes in vehicle engines that are friendly to biodiesel energy. Biodiesel energy is a promising energy for Indonesia to move towards renewable energy. Therefore, ensure that the Indonesian government must push for regulation of use cooking oil collection policies to help produce biodiesel from CPO directly.

Ica Cahayani
Ica Cahayani
Ica Cahayani is a graduate student in International Relation Studies at Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia. Her research interests include practices and policies in international cooperation and development covering the realms of global political economy, security, gender, global value chains and diplomacy. Other research interests Commentries focus on the Indopacific region, ASEAN and Europe. Her actively writes in various domestic and foreign media regarding the latest international relations issues, such as the issue of the ukraine conflict, the phenomenon of world food oil scarcity, the presidency of the G20 Indonesia and its challenges and cultural diplomacy.