energy minister
Image credit: Stock

Indonesia’s energy minister today called for the country’s power companies to “think about the needs of the people, not about their profits”.

Ignasius Jonan said that with 7.5 million people on Indonesia’s islands still having no access to electricity, a collaboration between government and energy companies was vital to bring energy to the country’s most remote areas.

He added that a vital component of this was improving transmission and distribution infrastructure with smart grid technology.

The energy minister was speaking at the opening ceremony of POWER-GEN Asia in Jakarta, where the drive to electrify the nation was emphasised by the Ministry of Industry secretary director general, Agoes Triboesono, who said the government hopes to bring power to 2510 villages in the next year.

This would bring the electrification rate in the country to 99.9%: just four years ago it was 84%. He added that this rollout of infrastructure would involve 20,860 km of transmission lines this year alone.

The importance of electricity to Indonesia’s economic ambition was highlighted by Ngakan Timur Antara, head of R&D at the Ministry of Industry.

“Without electricity, there is no industry: electricity and industry cannot be separated.” He said in the global rankings of percentage of manufacturing accounting for overall GDP, Indonesia was fourth, behind Korea, China and Germany – and reliable electricity was vital to maintain and further this position.

And he added that “you cannot run away from the energy transformation” that was seeing decarbonisation and digitalisation influence the make-up of the power sector.

“Every country is going through this transformation so that they can compete on a national and global level,” he said, adding that developments in big data and robotics would “shape the fourth industrial revolution”.

Originally published by our colleagues at Power Engineering International,

Written by Kelvin Ross in Jakarta