Electrification through Renewable Energy (ELREN)

Project description

Project title: Electrification through Renewable Energy (ELREN)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Indonesia
Lead executing agency: Directorate General of New, Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation (EBTKE), Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources Republic of Indonesia
Overall term: 2017 to 2019

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Context

In 2017, more than 20 million Indonesians (8 per cent of the population) predominantly living in remote rural areas, lack access to electricity and have been left behind in the country’s fast-paced development. In order achieve ‘near-universal’ access to electricity by 2020, the Government of Indonesia has prioritised energy access. In doing so, significant progress has been made over the past 10 years. Up to now, more than 600 village-owned micro-grids have been installed, that are capable of running independently and powered 100 per cent from locally available renewable energy (RE) sources. Indonesia has become a frontrunner in the global effort of ensuring access to affordable, reliable and modern energy (UN Social Development Goal 7) through RE powered micro-grids and has thereby proven that electricity access and CO2 reduction can go hand in hand.

Many challenges however still lie ahead. Electrification in Indonesia is yet to become a synergised effort among the various ministries and public actors active in the field. Furthermore, micro-grids, driven by solar energy or micro-hydro power, are prone to technical failures if not properly maintained. This requires an effective performance monitoring system as well as trained service technicians and repair shops to be readily available at local levels if a system fails. To supply this labour demand, training providers and training facilities need to be in place to educate and qualify young electricians wanting to specialise in renewable energy. In order to raise the overall sustainability and durability of government-funded RE off-grid systems over their lifetime, the quality of these installations must be improved to meet international norms and quality standards. Moreover, negative environmental impacts (e.g. from battery disposal) needs to be avoided and gender equality among operators has to be ensured. 

Furthermore, human and institutional capacities within the public and private sector, as well as at national and regional level need to be developed to make electrification through renewable energy in Indonesia more sustainable.

Objective

Knowledge on off-grid electrification using renewable energy is institutionalised in Indonesia.

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Approach

In a holistic approach, knowledge on off-grid renewable energy electrification will be anchored with Indonesian institutions and coordinated within the country – among all actors in the field. This is to ensure the sustainability and longevity of Indonesia's success story in electrifying remote villages through renewable energy.
Anchor institutions are training providers on national and regional levels. They ensure that the skills needed for installing, inspecting, operating, maintaining and repairing RE powered micro grids are kept, improved and transferred to technicians active in the region. Simultaneously, ELREN supports the private sector in establishing functioning service and repairing structures that comply with international quality standards in the four pilot regions.

To ensure that results match the actual needs in Indonesia’s off-grid electrification sector, the project commences by identifying gaps throughout the process chain of rural electrification. Activities are then designed to fill these gaps, starting from site selection, planning, evaluation, selection, procurement and construction through to operations and service. Every step of the process chain is analysed, with a clear goal of having the process synchronised, standardised, and sustainable.  

The overall strategy of ELREN is comprised of:

  • Establishing and integrating national and international standards on RE-based off-grid electrification.
  • Establishing a synchronised database shared through an online platform by relevant stakeholders.
  • Creating a coordination platform between relevant stakeholders and ministries in the off-grid electrification sector. 
  • Evaluating existing off-grid systems and establishing a streamlined monitoring & evaluation system.
  • Supporting the private sector in establishing a functioning service and maintenance structures in four pilot provinces.
  • Implementing capacity development measures for key training institutions and developing schemes for technicians and private sector in the off-grid sector to be trained locally.
  • Including social-gender and environmental aspects in the whole process chain of off-grid electrification.

Results

The lead agency for electrification through renewable energy in Indonesia, the Directorate General of New, Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation (EBTKE), has been strengthened and advised on integrating international standards into government financed tenders for village electrification systems. This will increase the quality and lifetime of photovoltaic (PV) battery micro-grids in remote areas.

A capacity needs assessment has been conducted to assess the institutional landscape for training on electrification through renewable energy in Indonesia. Based on this, the project has successfully engaged three key training institutions in Indonesia to conduct a comprehensive capacity development programme. Competency standards, training syllabi and training materials have been developed and are being handed over to institutions. This enables training for operators, service technicians and inspectors on national and regional level in Indonesia to be conducted in 2018/2019.