KEZIA LAKSMONO WRITES – Tesla cars roaming the streets are a common sight for the average Angeleno. Public parking lots with charging stations for electric cars are now the norm here. But for a typical Indonesian like me? I am fascinated by this.

While renewable energy has become the second-most prevalent U.S electricity source since 2020, Indonesia is nowhere near that. The most crowded cities in Indonesia, such as Jakarta and Surabaya, are heavily trafficked by vehicles powered by combustion engines, and the consequence? Trouble: Clogged roads, traffic delays, and deteriorated air quality.

As of 2019, the country had more than 15 million cars and 112 million motorcycles-not to mention trucks that would clog roads with traffic, so it takes citizens at least 40 minutes to get anywhere. This has undoubtedly choked the nation with air pollution. Still, I wouldn’t feel disgusted…just yet.

On February 22, 2022, Indonesia’s President, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, announced his plan to put 2 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2025. He said this during a press conference, “Synergy of Electrum, Pertamina, Gogoro & Gesists.”

In his remarks, Jokowi gave heartfelt thanks to local companies committed to developing an electric vehicle ecosystem. And in doing so, of course, he expressed gratitude for the nation’s transition to renewable energy, especially in infrastructure. “The government is very serious about getting into new and renewable energy, including electric vehicles. Therefore, I really appreciate the courage of companies entering from upstream to downstream to start building an electric vehicle ecosystem. We hope that in accordance with our target in 2030 for carbon emissions to be at 29%, and in 2060, it will enter zero carbon emissions or net-zero carbon,” Jokowi said.

The cost of four-wheeled EVs should not be a big concern to the public. Those cars will be a lot more affordable because the industry is required to use local spare parts. On top of that, the country’s Ministry of Finance will set a special tariff of zero percent import duty should a car arrive in less than proper condition. And although technically these incentives can’t stop the usage of internal combustion engines, the government is on the right track in working to accelerate clean, green energy by 2050.

To this end, Indonesia is creating a new culture of transportation. For example, the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) – the country’s latest addition to its public transport system – is ideal for a compact city like Jakarta. It is a rapid transit system powered by overhead electrical wires that carry passengers over short distances. As a result, what once took 40 minutes for a North Jakartan like me to get to the city might now only take 15 minutes. The LRT is light and flexible, but most of all, it has reduced congestion in the capital.

Given all this, Indonesia’s clean energy plans might not be an impossible dream. Nevertheless, the dream will only come true if Indonesians continue their commitment to a future of electric and green energy.

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