A farmer in Sarasedu, in the East Nusa Tenggara Province of Indonesia, prepares the gas line that will connect the village’s new biogas digester with a stove. Photo: su-re.co

Indonesia’s continued reliance on fossil fuels to meet increasing domestic energy demand has made it the world’s eighth largest greenhouse gas emitter. Though the country aims to reduce its emissions by 26% by 2020 and by 29% by 2030, its energy plans and emissions trends are far from being consistent with its NDC targets.

Against this backdrop, the authors of this discussion brief present the results of research aimed at understanding how biogas alternatives could effectively contribute to a low-carbon energy transition, and what changes are required to achieve it

The brief explores two pathways: a low-investment/short-term scenario and a high-investment/long-term scenario. The first is an easily implementable, low-cost household-scale option supplying household energy needs through individual or communal installations. This pathway also foresees the transfer of these systems and the know-how to other geographical areas. The second pathway focuses on large-scale biogas systems that produce electricity, require higher investment, and generate high benefits in the long run.

The authors find that, overall, biogas development has not yet become a government priority. As a result, biogas is not being developed evenly across the country, they show.

The authors suggest that certain steps could make biogas transition pathways attractive and could encourage effective collaborations. The findings suggest that uncertainties in government policymaking should be addressed by formulating renewable energy targets complemented by clear pathways to attain them. Supporting actions – such as strengthening the institutions that manage national biogas development, and implement monitoring standards and other regulations – could help minimize risks. Meanwhile, incentives – such as introducing favourable lending schemes and feed-in tariffs, and enabling supplementary income generation – could also prove beneficial.