Environmental activists call for clean energy for Aceh, community participation in energy transition

Jakarta – To preserve forests and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the energy transition in Aceh must involve the active role of local communities. Several environmental activists stated this and became a significant highlight in mitigating forest protection in Aceh Province.

According to the Campaign Manager from Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI), Anggi Putra Prayoga, Aceh has a big responsibility in forest protection mitigation, with a target of reaching around 120,000 ha, which is divided into 84,160 ha of planned deforestation and 37,281 ha of unplanned deforestation.

However, obstacles arise due to local government’s need for more understanding regarding the division of roles and authorities in this matter. “The Aceh government must play an active role in holding back the deforestation rate by 90 per cent, following the target that has been set,” Anggi said in a written statement.

The biggest challenge arises from the consequences of Aceh’s national energy mix target on forest and land governance. Although the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) is targeting the development of energy plantation forests (HTE) as a substitute for coal energy, this raises concerns over environmental impacts.

Achmad Sholihin from Walhi Aceh highlighted the HTE development problem that companies often do not carry out responsibly. Replanting of destroyed forests is often not done, leaving a detrimental environmental impact.

“Communities must also be given space to exercise control over the implementation of this energy transition to avoid further violations and destruction of the environment,” he added.

Mulyadi from Perkumpulan Medaya emphasised that the energy transition that has not entirely abandoned the use of coal in power plants can open loopholes for particular interests that harm the environment.

“Cooperation and active participation of the community are needed to oversee the energy transition process so that it runs well and does not harm the environment,” Mulyadi said.

The community’s active involvement and more proactive government policies are key to preserving forests and reducing the negative impacts of energy activities in Aceh. (Hartatik)

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