Susilo Wants Asia, Africa to Lead Energy Revolution

Speaking before the upcoming Asian-African Summit, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called on leaders from the two continents to initiate increased use of renewable energy. High investment costs and limited incentives make renewable energy a tough sell across the region. Yet as conventional energy resources decline, nations are increasingly engaged in conflict over resource-rich border areas. Thus it is imperative that Africa and Asia turn away from fossil fuels and towards solar, hydro, geothermal, and wind power, says Susilo. "Should this be a success, millions of poor people will have the ability to access such energy at an affordable cost," added the president. – YaleGlobal

Susilo Wants Asia, Africa to Lead Energy Revolution

Leony Aurora
Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Amid the decline in conventional energy resources and rising global pollution, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono suggested on Monday that nations from Asia and Africa initiate the use of renewable energy resources.

Speaking to participants at the Asian-African Symposium on Renewable Energy, Susilo said there was a need to form a joint community between countries in Asia and Africa to support the use and development of renewable energy.

The symposium, along with the Regional Congress and Exhibition on Renewable Energy, are being held in conjunction with the upcoming Asian-African Summit scheduled to commence on April 22.

"The community is expected to accelerate the use of renewable energy for nations in Asia and Africa. Should this be a success, millions of poor people will have the ability to access such energy at an affordable cost," said Susilo.

Susilo hoped the upcoming Asian-African Summit would result in cooperation among participating countries to seriously develop the use of renewable energy, as well as reducing dependency on conventional energy sources -- such as oil, gas and coal.

"Asian-African countries should not lag behind nations in other continents. I do hope that our solidarity will strengthen cooperation in the sector of energy, and together we can alleviate poverty by providing low-cost energy resources," he said.

Renewable energy sources that are planned to be developed by Asian-African nations include solar, hydro, geothermal, wind, and vegetable oil and animal fat.

"As resources of conventional energy are declining, more and more nations are involved in disputes over the possession of resource-rich areas located along their borders.

"This is the other risk of being heavily dependent on conventional energy," said Susilo.

Meanwhile, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Purnomo Yusgiantoro said the use of renewable energy in Indonesia would account at least 5 percent of total energy resources by 2020, with most being in the form of geothermal and solar power.

"Indonesia is now preparing a blueprint for the use of renewable energy until 2020. We expect to use 5 percent of our energy supply from renewable sources and gradually increase such use in following years," he said.

According to Purnomo, in terms of geothermal energy, Indonesia's accounts for about 40 percent of the world's potential, as the country is located on the so called "ring of fire".

However, he said, there were still several barriers to the development of renewable energy here in Indonesia, such as high investment costs, limited incentives and funding and lack of knowledge.

Subsidized domestic fuel prices are also impede the use and development of renewable energy, as it is currently more economically to use diesel fuel to produce energy than to use renewable energy.

Purnomo hoped that new technologies and inventions could lead to the construction of more power plants using renewable energy in remote areas.

© The Jakarta Post