ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
House sees 20% attendance at hearing for clean energy draft law
Only about one-fifth of the 51-member commission in charge of deliberating the draft law on renewable energy attended a scheduled deliberation hearing at the House of Representatives, which had invited energy experts from notable universities.
The hearing also started an hour or so behind schedule, and almost all lawmakers were observed glued to their phones once the hearing started.
The experts, who had received a copy of the draft law prior to the hearing, called on the lawmakers to align the draft law with existing laws to create a level playing field in the energy sector for both clean energy and fossil fuel-based energy.
The legislators appeared distracted and lackluster compared to the experts, who provided clear insights and recommendations on how the draft law could drive new development in renewable energies.
For example, energy law expert Irine Handika of Gadjah Mada University's (UGM) energy studies center pointed to the ambiguousness in the definition for “state control over energy”.
“[To what extent] should the government control energy? Does the government control only energy resources, or [also] the facilities?” she said.
Irine also criticized the draft law for its lack of integration or synchronization with other energy laws. Synchronizing the draft law with other laws and the Constitution would prevent the finalized law from being submitted for judicial review with the Constitutional Court, she said.
The experts also urged lawmakers to ensure that renewable energy would receive the same incentives as dirty energy, especially in setting competitive prices.
Widodo Wahyu Purwanto, a sustainable energy professor from the University of Indonesia, said that the energy subsidy should be allocated for renewable energy instead of fossil fuel energy.
“No other country has set the price of renewable energy-based electricity lower than that of fossil fuel-based [electricity],” he pointed out.
The draft law, a copy of which was made available to The Jakarta Post, includes stipulations on incentives, mainly as lower rates and exemptions for value-added tax and income tax for renewable energy providers.
It also requires the government to provide a state budget allocation of development funds for new and renewable energy projects.
The draft law dated October 2018 divides energy types into two broad categories: strategic natural resources and non-strategic natural resources.
New energies, which include nuclear and liquefied coal, fall under strategic natural resources, while renewable energies like geothermal, solar, hydro and biomass energy fall under the non-strategic category.
The draft law, which the House proposed, was expected to be passed into law next year, said commission VII deputy chairman Tamsil Linrung Tamsil of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) faction.
“It’s difficult to finish the draft law quickly, as we are in an election year. [...] As you can see today, many of our commission members are still in their electoral districts [dapil],” said Tamsil, referring to the poor attendance.
In his opening speech for the hearing, Tamsil said, “We need a strong legal basis for new and renewable energies, as we have enormous resources, but their utilization still remains low.”
The draft law is to become the country's first law on new and renewable energies. Previously, the new and renewable sectors are only regulated under a lower-tier regulation, namely ministerial regulation.
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