Renewable energy governance in Indonesia: A study of transparency and participation in Yogyakarta

Author: Fajar Fadli

Fadli, Fajar, 2021 Renewable energy governance in Indonesia: A study of transparency and participation in Yogyakarta, Flinders University, College of Business, Government and Law

Terms of Use: This electronic version is (or will be) made publicly available by Flinders University in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. You may use this material for uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material and/or you believe that any material has been made available without permission of the copyright owner please contact with the details.


Indonesia holds massive potential for renewable energy development. Despite Indonesia’s official pronouncements and targets set in this regard, development of renewable energy in Indonesia remains unsatisfactory. This thesis investigates whether and to what extent poor governance processes have impacted renewable energy development in Indonesia. The investigation is focused on two governance indicators, namely transparency and public participation.

This thesis adopts a qualitative approach. A case study was conducted in Yogyakarta province to explore the phenomenon from multiple perspectives and to gain an in-depth understanding of the state of transparency and public participation in renewable energy governance processes. An evaluation framework was developed drawing on relevant literature in the area of governance and environmental policy-making. Data was gathered through a series of in-depth interviews and a focus group discussion with participants from central and local government, private energy providers, and non-governmental and civil society organisations. In addition, information was obtained from secondary sources, such as government documents and reports, news articles, and internet-based sources.

Transparency was found to have an important role for accountability, in keeping the public informed, and in building trust, while public participation was vital for gaining legitimacy, mobilizing support from stakeholders, improving their knowledge and awareness and enhancing the quality of decisions. The study found that a lack of transparency and public participation in decision- making processes has impacted the development of renewable energy in Indonesia. A number of barriers to effective governance processes were also identified, including a lack of commitment from central and provincial governments, a monopolistic market structure, poor regulatory frameworks, and inadequate knowledge about renewable energy issues.

The case in Yogyakarta has revealed that subnational government suffers from limitations, including inadequate expertise and knowledge, poor financial capacity and authority in the energy sector to advance renewable energy development agenda. In turn, this calls for, strong leadership and adequate supports from central government. However, while the central government’s role is vital, its commitment toward renewable energy development remains in doubt. Currently, energy policy-making processes are highly centralized and prone to undue influence by powerful economic and political forces, particularly from the coal industry. Hence, policies and programs in the energy sector tend to favour fossil-fuel based energy with very little or no support for renewable energy development.

The study concludes that current renewable energy governance needs a rethink. A new form of governance that enables greater transparency and public participation is required to deal with cross-cutting policy issues such as renewable energy development. This thesis proposes a framework to guide the integration of transparency and public participation to improve trust in and the legitimacy of energy governance. The framework is designed to ensure a transparent and participative governance that will disperse the concentration of power of vested interests in the policy making process and enable the public to monitor policy processes and keep renewable energy as a priority on the policy agenda.

Keywords: renewable energy, Indonesia, governance, transparency, public participation

Subject: Policy and Administration thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2021
School: College of Business, Government and Law
Supervisor: Noore Siddiquee