Editorial: Nation Must Harness Renewable Energy

Our modern world depends heavily on fossil fuels but, as we have all known for quite a while, these energy sources are finite. Fossil fuel reserves are fast being depleted in the face of our fast-growing world population and its demands and eventually these resources will run out. It is then only logical for us to shed our dependency on fossil fuels and turn our heads to the potential of renewable energy. It is clear that this is the future.

Another reason to switch to renewable energy is that most of these sources are far less dirty when compared to fossil fuels.

Pollution is increasingly becoming a major problem around the world, especially in developing countries such as our own.

The use of renewable energy also has the attraction of releasing much less carbon dioxide into our atmosphere and, at a time when global warming has become a challenge for all to address, such an advantage weighs heavily in favor of us turning to renewable energy.

Therefore, the government’s decision to establish a renewable energy directorate is a more than welcome initiative.

The move makes sense and is the right step in the right direction.

We are heartened by such forward-thinking policy.

The new directorate general at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources will be in charge of boosting and regulating the use of renewable energy sources.

It will also be charged with formulating policy and the technical standardization for new and renewable energy and energy conservation.

Indonesia clearly does not lack for options when it comes to renewable energy.

As a tropical country straddling the equator, we have abundant sun all year around.

As an archipelago, we are equally blessed with vast water and wind resources. And with a chain of volcanoes running the length of the country, we are sitting on a vast reservoir of geothermal energy.

The initial capital necessary for renewable energy may be high, but in the long run, everyone will gain.

However, it is important that the government carefully study all options available before we rush headlong into attempting to harness renewable sources of energy.

A cautious approach is all the more warranted because a shift to using new energy will not only require a serious commitment, but also heavy investment in both technology and human resources.

There are many natural sources for energy and a careful study is needed to determine which are most appropriate for which regions.

Settling for a single source for the entire country would be unwise because local environments would dictate which sources of renewable energy would be best.

Most importantly, the government must also educate the public about the importance of cutting our addiction to fossil fuels, no matter how painful that may be.

Without the public’s support, the government cannot succeed in this endeavor.