Energy Supply and Demand
    Category: Energy Booster By : Scott Younger Read : 724 Date : Saturday, September 10, 2016 - 07:37:26

    When discussing energy, nearly all the focus has been on supply. This is to be expected when many locations in Indonesia either have yet to be connected to a reliable power source or are subject to power cuts as a result of supply shortages. Recent pronouncements indicate that the government is hoping to have signed up projects amounting to 18,000 MW, or just over half the target of 35,000 MW, before the end of the year including a number of IPP awards.

    Within the new projects, the majority will be coal-fired with gas, with the rest being renewable projects. The earliest to construction completion could be solar (few months) and gas, where key projects have been earmarked. Recent government proposals for solar projects, however, could be delayed due to red tape, and need to be more closely examined. Assuming no land acquistion hold-ups, then output from the coal-fired units can be expected from 2019 onwards. 

    However, it is time to pay more attention to the demand side of energy. Two areas of heavy usage are buildings and transportation. While a start to improving the efficiency of new structures is being made and Green Building Council certification is being applied to new high rises, the majority of buildings were not erected to be energy efficient—wasting much electricity. It is therefore pleasing to welcome Jakarta’s recently launched Capital Place, which was designed for energy efficiency and water reuse.  

    Among estimates of how much supply could be reduced, an overall saving of 30% is not an unreasonable early target, with special focus on urban areas—though some buildings elsewhere in the world have energy savings of 80% or more over usual standards. As for retrofitting older structures, solar inputs could generate a whole new sector in the construction industry, especially if the government provided incentives to reduce their energy usage. The cost reduction on the supply side and usage of non-renewable resources would be signficant and also have a positive impact on deemed pollution emissions.

    Much work is going on worldwide towards changing transportation from a complete dependence on fossil fuels to electric vehicles. Many manufacturers have developed reliable hybrid vehicles and Tesla, for example, has developed a successful all electric vehicle. As this market expands, prices will fall, while fuel stations can add recharge facilities alongside gas pumps. Mercedes-Benz recently put on the market the first all-electric truck.  

    The impact on Jakarta would be considerable, both in reducing pollution and fuel wastage, where the traffic-jam induced losses annually have been assessed at $5 billion. The air quality in the city would improve, with its health benefits. Reduced levels of oxygen, common across the city, are bad for health, which in turn reduces productivity.

    Technology can help create a cleaner environment, better for all, especially as the world becomes increasingly urban. However, it means that everyone should be paying attention to how our energy usage now and in the future can be more efficiently applied.