Ini essay yang sempat saya tulis sebulan yang lalu. Tulisan ini saya masukkan ke lomba global energy essay, dengan tema sustainable energy for all.
Almost fifteen years after the Millennium Development Goals is established, currently we still have 1.3 billion people without electricity, and almost half of people in the world still rely on traditional biomass energy source for cooking and heating (United Nations, 2012). This situation asserts that there is huge inequality in energy sector. This fact is also reported in UN Development Group report that reflects the voices of more than one million people, that the inequality and insecurities is growing for the poorer and marginalized people (UNDG MDG Task Force, 2013). Therefore, I believe that for next decade, energy access inequality and marginality is the foremost thing that we have to tackle, alongside with the research and implementation of sustainable energy sources, energy efficiency improvement, and energy security preservation.
Energy access inequality and marginality is rooted from the source of extreme poverty, which still exists in our life today. Looking at previous decade, we already “succeeded” with Millennium Development Goal, by escalating about half billion of people to above of poverty line (UN High Level Panel, 2012). However, it is imperative that we must strive to leave nobody below the poverty line. It is unquestionable that we have to push the limit more than MDG. In the other hand, United Nations aware of these facts, and already declared that for year 2014-2024 is the decade of sustainable energy for all (United Nations, 2012). By that resolution, it is pointed that:
- Access to the reliable, affordable, economically feasible, socially acceptable, and environmentally sound energy services and resource for sustainable development must be improved
- It is imperative to improve energy efficiency
- Share of renewable energy, clean energy, and energy efficient source increment is important
We are currently having the momentum of The Sustainable Energy for All Initiatives (SE4ALL) that mobilizes 50 billion dollars from private sector and investors, which is a very huge resource to be used in developing sustainable energy. In the other hand, there are ideas to reduce the inequality make the huge energy consumers to pay full price for the harmful impact that the current energy generates. By implementing energy tax, remove the inefficient subsidies, and also the resources from the SE4ALL initiative, infrastructure on remote areas can be built to reduce those inequalities (UN High Level Panel, 2012).
Providing a reliable and modern energy for lighting and cooking will improve the social, economics, and environment benefits. This is where technology will hold a major role, where it can provide different solutions to the poorer society. In practical terms, there are few solutions like LED solar panel, solar dish cooking devices, that can be implemented in certain areas of remote and poorer area.
In the other hand, an agreement between the technology owner, government, and financier must be in place to provide those appropriate energy solution to the poorer people. Technology owner can provide a bull’s-eye technology to be implemented in poor areas, while government can put a right tax, investment environment, and policy to make the financier willing to put their money in developing poor areas. In the other hand, developing country is also having a part in developing the technology that can be implemented in those poor areas.
Developed countries are also having their own challenges. Even though the importance of renewable energy development is recognized in most of developed country, currently earth is already exceeded its planetary boundary limit on CO2 gas emissions (Rockstrom, Johan, et al., 2009). Current situation of CO2 gas emission is the highest amount in at least 800.000 years. This alarming fact can be furthermore become worse if we still continue the huge amount usage of fossil fuel (currently more than 80% of global energy use) which is not changing since 1990s. Staying on this track in business-as-usual will be very unfavorable to the sustainable development.
Thus, for the way forward, every developed country have to make a choice of a sustainable future, with a feasible, affordable, efficient, and clean energy. In addition, sustainable future here is not just about emission reduction. It is also consist of agreement how to save our current available energy, with future generations. To achieve that future, International Energy Agency has made recommendations to achieve the clean energy future (International Energy Agency, 2012).
- Create an investment climate of confidence in clean energy
- Unlock the incredible potential of energy efficiency
- Accelerate innovation and public research, development, and demonstration (RD&D)
To achieve that goal, governments have to make sure that they understand that different energy systems choice will results in different future. It is each government’s responsibility to create the future and the appropriate energy system according to their potential energy and available energy sources. To achieve efficient energy usage in the future, it is natural to assume that the energy intensity will not growing as fast as it is on business-as-usual. This condition could be a problem if a country relied hugely on energy growth to expand its economic growth. Therefore, to achieve success in implementing sustainable energy future in developed country, it is also important to consider few aspects in next decade:
- Power generation sector holds a huge portion of clean energy system. To save energy in one end is the same as producing energy in the other hand. This is why implementing energy efficiency is often said as attaining a hidden fuel. On top of saving energy, we can also contribute to achieving climate goals, by providing most of the electricity generation using clean energy source.
- It is also imperative to put the renewable and emission reduction of current energy generation source. For renewable, there are bio-energy and renewable energy potential specific to each area to be assessed. For emission reduction, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology should be implemented, while the efficiency of electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure should be improved by modernization.
- Implementation of the technology to achieve flexible energy source. There are potential to implement flexible grid, which implements electricity regional integration, demand side resources management, flexible generation & storage, and scheduling of energy usage that can further improve the efficiency of energy use (Harris, 2013).
Regarding the renewable energy source, one of the SE4ALL initiative aim is to double the share of renewable energy in 2030. It is an achievable goal, and there are few important measures that have to be implemented in next decade (IRENA, 2013). First of all, it is important to increase the efficiency of the traditional biomass energy source, since it will free up resources used to generate the same amount of energy. Currently biomass account for about 80% of all renewable energy sources, and its’ application will continue to grow more than traditional use. It will be also used on transportation, buildings, and industry. In the other hand, It is important to start developing RE technologies and projects, since it will take long lead time to develop energy system. This condition asserts that the investment in renewable power generation must be accelerated.
However, in developing renewable energy, energy security and availability in the long run have to be considered. That security consists of availability, accessibility, affordability, and acceptability (Kruyt, et al, 2009). The future energy that a government chooses has to be available and accessible physically, or it is proven potentially. Social and environmental aspects of energy usage, is also have to be considered while maintaining economic sense of the energy value. Each country has their own situation, and those situations have to be assessed thoroughly to achieve the optimum sustainability.
In conclusion, it’s our job to make sure that we continue the work that has been put through the MDG. In energy sector, it is imperative to enhance the live of billions people who still have no access to electricity, or people who live below the poverty line. The foremost challenges are to reduce the inequalities that still exist, through the development and implementation of sustainable energy source in poor area. Through close collaboration between technology owner, governments, and financier, we should be able to make a platform to make billions of people access clean and reliable energy. In the other hand, developed countries also have their own challenges to reduce the emissions, and to push the planetary boundary within the limits. This can be pushed through the sustainable energy development implementation, through efficiency improvement and technology project development. At the top of that, to achieve sustainable energy future, it is also our aim to double the amount of renewable energy sources in 2030. To achieve that, in next decade we have focus on biomass modernization, and also push a huge number of capital projects in renewable power generation. However, we must not forget that to achieve that, we must achieve it in secure way by ensuring the availability, accessibility, affordability, and acceptability of the energy.
Harris, A. (2013, October 11). Flexible Grid The Key To A Clean Energy Future. Retrieved October 20, 2013, from Clean Technica: http://cleantechnica.com/2013/08/11/flexible-grid-the-key-to-a-clean-energy-future/
International Energy Agency. (2012). Energy Technology Perspectives – how to secure a clean energy future. Paris: International Energy Agency.
IRENA. (2013). Doubling the Global Share of Renewable Energy, A Roadmap to 2030. Abu Dhabi: International Renewable Energy Agency.
Kruyt, et al. (2009). Indicators for energy security. Energy Policy, Volume 37, Issue 6 , 2166–2181.
Rockstrom, Johan, et al. (2009). A safe operating space for humanity. Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre.
UN High Level Panel. (2012). A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development. New York: United Nations.
UNDG MDG Task Force. (2013). A Million Voices: The World We Want. New York: United Nations Development Group.
United Nations. (2012, December 21). UN General Assembly Declares 2014-2024 Decade of Sustainable Energy for All. Retrieved October 20, from United Nations, Departement of Public Information: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2012/ga11333.doc.htm