by Daniel J. Graeber
Manila (UPI) Oct 2, 2015
Indonesia needs financial support to diversify an energy sector that's outdated despite the vast deposits of natural reserves, the Asian Development Bank.
Pradeep Tharakan, a regional specialist for the ADB, said chronic underinvestment in the energy sector left the country lacking access to modern forms of energy. The ADB said it supported a $500 million loan to help stimulate investments and energy sector reform.
"The project will help the government to enhance energy security, as well as increase supply from renewable sources and natural gas in the future energy mix," Tharakan said.
Natural gas production in Indonesia increased by more than 20 percent in the decade ending in 2012, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports. The country exports about half its natural gas and is one of the largest exporters of liquefied natural gas in the world.
ADB said the loans would support government efforts to build a renewable energy sector centered around small-scale hydropower, geothermal and biomass programs. The program would also back cleaner power options like natural gas.
Indonesia in September submitted a request to reactivate its membership in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The country left OPEC in 2009 because it was no longer a net exporter.
Italian energy company Eni and its partners at French energy company Engie, formerly GDF Suez, and its Indonesian partners signed a deal to purchase and sell up to 1.4 million tons of LNG per year from the Jangkrik complex starting in 2017.
Asian economies, the bank said, combine for about 37 percent of all global emissions and dependency on fossil fuels remains high even though 600 million people in the region still lack access to electricity.
NYC clean investment strategy reviewed
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio this week called on the five city pension boards to consider a proposal to divest from coal. The mayor's office said the divestment initiatives would align city pension funds with current trajectories in the energy market.
Notre Dame University said it was moving away from coal as a power source after Roman Catholic Pope Francis described the issues surrounding climate change in moral terms. Scott Stringer, the comptroller for the city of New York, said there were health and investment responsibilities tied to public pension funds like New York's.
"Climate change is a very serious threat, and we've been examining the issue for some time," he said in response to emailed questions. "We welcome the mayor's contribution to the ongoing discussion, and look forward to working closely with his office to conduct a comprehensive study."
Five pension funds for New York City have assets of more than $160 billion, with about $33 million tied to coal.
Industry critics said divesting from coal for the sake of addressing climate goals was a short-sighted investment strategy. Matt Dempsey, a spokesman for the Independent Petroleum Association of America, said it's not a particular act of "political heroism" to shy away from coal in and of itself.
"I guess we can take some comfort in the fact they're keeping hold of oil and gas securities, but this whole thing is really just a big distraction," he said in response to questions. "New York is today, and remain well into the future, one of the largest consumers of fossil-derived energy among any state in the nation. Nothing announced this week changes that one bit."
New York state law requires that 30 percent of the electricity in the state comes from renewable energy by the end of this year. Most of its renewable power comes from hydroelectricity.
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