Fighting for a Just, Democratic and Constitutional Energy Transition in Indonesia

On 6 March, around 45 leaders from national and branch levels attended a strategic workshop organized by the Indonesian Power Employees Association (PP-IP), focused on the theme of "Just Energy Transition in Indonesia".

Indonesia's energy transition towards cleaner and sustainable sources is at a critical juncture, with significant obstacles posed by dependencies on coal, oil, gas, and nuclear energy exploration. Meanwhile, solutions offered such as co-firing and geothermal, even though they have potential, have been rejected due to concerns that they will cause new problems such as deforestation and other environmental impacts.

This was highlighted by Bhima Yudhistira from the Center of Economic and Law Studies (CELIOS) at a workshop organized by the Indonesian Power Employees Association (PP-IP), themed "Just Energy Transition in Indonesia" on 6 March. Around 45 leaders from the national level and branches joined this strategic workshop at the Santika Premiere Slipi, Jakarta.

One initiative that is gaining attention is the so-called Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), which aims to accelerate the transition to clean energy. However, JETP is considered an elite discourse that has not significantly involved trade unions and the wider community. Yudhistira emphasized the need for active engagement from all parties, including workers and indigenous communities, in order to ensure a democratic and just energy transition.

Funding for the JETP, dominated by loans, sparked concerns about debt burden and foreign technology dependence. Yudhistira recommended avoiding high-interest loans, increasing grant shares, and seeking alternative funding sources to lessen the fiscal burden. He also called for transparency and public participation in the planning and implementation of energy transition policies.

The workshop also revealed that both regional and national regulations and capacities are not fully prepared for the energy transition. Apart from that, there's a perceived lack of sensitivity to gender, disability, and social inclusion issues in energy transition plans, indicating the need for a more inclusive and holistic approach in policymaking.

Energy transition should also consider energy sovereignty to avoid technological dependency and foreign debt.

Fair compensation for affected communities

Yudhistira also stressed the need to consider the socio-economic and public health impacts of the energy transition, especially in coal-producing areas and around the Electric Steam Power Plants (PLTUs - “Pembangkit Listrik Tenaga Uap” in Indonesian). The energy transition should be accompanied by rehabilitation efforts and fair compensation for affected communities, he stated.

The energy transition should also consider energy sovereignty to avoid technological dependency and foreign debt, Yudhistira added. He reiterated that all stakeholders, including the government, industry, trade unions, indigenous communities, and civil society, must be involved.


From a constitutional perspective, the energy transition must be in accordance with the constitutional mandate, namely that it remains controlled by the State in order to provide energy that is affordable for the community, safe for the environment and customers. This means that energy transition policies and practices must ensure equitable and affordable energy access, as well as sustainable environmental protection.

In a global context, Indonesia must also take advantage of the momentum of the energy transition to negotiate debt relief or reduction with developed countries, as compensation for the impact of climate change caused by these countries' historical emissions.

PP-IP Secretary General Andy Wijaya said that the energy transition is an inevitability that cannot be avoided. According to him, the current increase in global temperature is estimated to reach 3.4 - 4 degrees Celsius, a figure that will make life on Earth very difficult in the next 50 years. The energy transition from fossil sources to clean energy is no longer an option, but rather a necessity to limit temperature rise to only 1.5 - 2 percent, in line with the threshold tolerated by our planet.

He added that Indonesia needs to develop an energy transition roadmap that is in accordance with national and global conditions and needs, taking into account aspects of state control, social, economic and environmental aspects. This effort is also in line with the Trade Union for Energy Democracy (TUED) which is seeking a regional meeting in Indonesia, with the aim of discussing a just and inclusive energy transition strategy.