Indonesia stands out in wind power and solar energy

Indonesia beat G-20 nations the United States, India, and Japan in the rate of growth in clean energy investment last year, according to a new report from Pew Charitable Trusts.

After passing the $1 billion mark in clean energy investment in 2010, Indonesia recorded a whopping 520 percent growth in investment gains last year. It ranks 14th overall.

“The country has an estimated 40 percent of the world’s known geothermal energy resources, and 2011 investments were guided toward developing this natural source of heat,” said the report, which was released on Wednesday.

Titled “Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2011 Edition,” the report examines key financial, investment and technological trends in 2011 related to the clean energy economies of G-20 members, with the primary focus being investment.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a market research firm focused on renewable energy, was Pew’s research partner in compiling and reviewing the data.

The report also showed that global clean energy investment in the past decade has managed to grow steadily by 6.5 percent to $263 billion in 2011, with G-20 member countries’ accounting for 95 percent.

Overall, the Asia/Oceania region held second place after the Americas for clean energy investments at $75 billion, growing more than 10 percent in 2011.

“Future growth is anticipated in the emerging markets of developing nations,” the report continues, pointing to annual investment growth rates of 10 to 18 percent projected for parts of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America in the next 10 years.

According to the report, the increasing electricity demands of an emerging middle class gives countries like Indonesia, China, Australia, and India more allure than Europe.

“Deployment of clean energy in Europe is likely to slow in 2012 as governments continue or accelerate efforts to rein in incentives for clean energy technologies,” the report said.

Paulus Tjakrawan, secretary general of the Indonesian Biofuel Producers Association (Aprobi), agreed with the report’s forecast, and sought to draw attention to the significance of governments’ clean energy-friendly policies.

“People are willing to invest if there is a positive market projection, and currently [Indonesia’s government] has clearly shown its support for renewable energy,” Paulus said on Friday.

He also said that with the correct policies and education of regional governments, the national government’s 2025 renewable energy goals — 9.5 gigawatts of geothermal, 970 megawatts from wind power and 870 MW from solar — would be achievable.

“But we have to make sure that we’re able to produce everything locally. If we import the components then it’s just going to be too expensive,” Paulus said.

The report said investment in solar energy had increased by 44 percent, attracting $128 billion and accounting for more than half of all clean energy investment in G-20 countries.

While Indonesia’s geothermal energy capacity is estimated at 28 GW, only 5 percent has been developed, a recent study found.