(Image Credit : EMR Ministry)

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories)—Indonesia’s power industry adapt to the latest technology advancements to play its strategic role in Industry 4.0.

Many countries have developed strategies to capitalize technology to catch up in Industry 4.0, that refers to process automation and data exchange that has prospects for a greater use in manufacturing. In chronically term, the first generation of the industrial revolution was marked by the utilization of steamed machine in Europe, replacing human and animal power (1750-1830). The second generation of the industrial revolution was highlighted with the introduction of mass production and the use of electricity (1870-1900) and third generation industry revolution was marked by the using of automation technology(since 1960).

Power availability, reliability, and quality have been a backbone for the past industrial revolution, and its role will significantly increase in the Industry 4.0. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) data, the industry sector consumed around 54 per cent of the world’s total delivered energy. It is projected to increase by an average of 1.2 per cent annually from 222 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2012 to 309 Btu in 2040.

Along with the industrial revolution, electricity sector also experienced a revolution. Electrical revolution 1.0 indicated by the invention of the bulb by Thomas Alva Edison in 1880s. Electrical revolution 2.0 started in the 1890s when George Westinghouse-Nikola Tesla built AC-based alternating current technology. Furthermore, electrical revolution 3.0 which managed to connect non-continuous electric power with a continuous grid that enables constructions of power plant and solar power plant in large scale in order to support this interconnection.

Right now, when solar panels and electric vehicles and the digitalization of power generation are widespread, the world entered fourth electrical revolution. Electrical 4.0 offered efficiency in power supply through the using of renewable energy.

Electrical 4.0 is also identical with the application of smart grid technology, which is an electrical grid integrating activities of all users from the power plants to the end user to improve efficiency, sustainability, energy saving, and safety. It includes the using of smart meters, smart appliances, renewable energy resources, and energy efficiency resources.

The smart grid will increase the using of small-scale renewable energy and reduce carbon emission. This system also enables the consumers to sell their electricity surplus to the power companies.

While the first to three electrical revolutions rely on the fossil fuel especially coal, the fourth electrical revolution started to pay attention to the climate change challenge. Many countries including Indonesia ratified the Paris agreement in 2015 to combat the climate change effect due to global warming. They agreed to limit the global rise in temperature to below 2 degrees Celcius by 2030, which required a carbon footprint reduction of 50 per cent or more from power generation.

Even though many countries are moving to the fourth electrical revolution, Indonesia’s power still trapped in electrical revolution 2.0, which relay in dirty energy sources including coal, oil, and gas supply. The fossil energy-based power plants will increase in the future as the government is pushing 35,000-megawatt projects dominated by coal.

Based on data of the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry on the country’s energy mix in 2015, oil was still the largest contributor to the country’s energy mix, namely 46 per cent, followed by coal at 26 per cent, gas at 23 per cent and renewable energy 5 per cent.

The electricity inefficiency made the country has a more expensive cost of energy than its peers. Indonesia’s electricity tariff is about US$0.12 per kWh, much higher than Vietnam and Bangladesh which is only US$0.7 and US$0.5, respectively.

The government should immediately accelerate the power sector to fit with industry 4.0, reflected in policies and regulations, support from private sector and investors, financial incentives, improved communications among the stakeholders, as well as a changing mindset of customers.

In addition, the government should be serious to implement the government regulation 70/2009 on conservation energy. The regulation mandates each energy user as much as 6,000 tonnes of oil equivalent per year to have energy managers and auditors to ensure the efficiency.

However, many companies violate this regulation with 137 out of 346 companies have not employed energy managers and auditors, according to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources data.  One obstacle is the limited availability of energy managers and auditors in Indonesia.

Indonesia may be lagged behind its regional peers in the Industry 4.0, but if the country seriously shifts the power sector to comply with the Industry 4.0, the country will catch up and achieve their goals in Industry 4.0 roadmap.

Email: fauzulmuna@theinsiderstories.com