Eastern Indonesia and outback Australia share the same energy challenges: Makassar Consul General Richard Mathews on energy investment

Upon election, Indonesian president Joko Widodo included infrastructure and renewable energy investment among his government’s top priorities. Indonesia aims to double renewable energy supply by 2025, to 23%. For projects up to 10 megawatts, the government has permitted up to 95% foreign ownership.

This creates enormous opportunity for Australian business to invest in a rapidly expanding economy, especially in parts of Eastern Indonesia where its many islands require off-grid power supply. This means advances in solar photovoltaic technology can be tested and applied to remote communities.

“There are lots of opportunities. There are thousands of islands and thousands of mountain villages which need power and the government of Indonesia is committed is achieving 98% electrification rate,” Australia’s Consul General to Makassar, Richard Mathews, said in an interview with Australia International Business adviser Leith Doody during his visit to The Australia-Indonesia Centre.

Richard agrees that Australian energy investment can not only help Eastern Indonesia but can contribute to solutions for the same challenges in remote parts of Australia.

“There a lot of similarities between the problems of Eastern Indonesia and the problems of outback Australia,” he noted.

“You can’t connect to a national grid if you’re a little island 20 minutes offshore of Makassar. It’s not economically feasible to run a cable. So the only alternative is to have your own on-island power supply. A renewable energy battery, with maybe diesel back-up, is the ideal solution. Now, how we can work together to bring about that kind of solution is what I hope we’ll cover in our renewable energy study tour.”

The Makassar Consulate has planned a Renewable Energy Field Study in Eastern Indonesia for business and investment in March 2018, in partnership with The Australia-Indonesia Centre. It will feature a one-day seminar in Makassar featuring experts in renewable energy, and will then explore sites in South Sulawesi including a wind power project in development and a solar project in the Makassar Strait.

Watch the whole interview below, where the Consul General explains the challenges and opportunities of investing in Eastern Indonesia across many sectors.

Click for more information and to express interest in the Renewable Energy Field Study Overview (PDF).