Lee of Singapore and Jokowi of Indonesia discuss trading in electricity

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At their final meeting as leaders of the two nations on Monday, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reported that the city-state’s proposal to buy low-carbon electricity from Indonesia is moving forward well. He met with Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

Following the meeting at the presidential palace in Bogor, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Lee stated at a joint press conference, “We look forward to Indonesia driving the green economy in our region.” “Bilaterally we are making good progress in cross-border electricity trading.”

Lee didn’t go into detail. In the meantime, Jokowi stated that in order to facilitate this kind of commerce, the Indonesian government will keep supporting initiatives by regional businesses to export low-carbon electricity to Singapore and will promote investment in the country’s green sectors.

The small island nation of Singapore limits its options for green energy. The Energy Market Authority of Singapore approved five projects in September with conditions to import 2 gigawatts of low-carbon power from Indonesia.

Adaro Energy and Medco Energi Internasional, two major Indonesian energy conglomerates, are among the companies managing the solar PV and battery energy storage system projects.

However, progress has been sluggish, with some analysts noting that such exports are challenging due to Indonesian regulations. These include the need for some solar PV components to be supplied domestically and for Perusahaan Listrik Negara, the state utility, to ease energy sales.

Lee informed Jokowi that both nations should use carbon credits, and the neighbors are also looking into forming a partnership for carbon capture and storage. Deepening collaboration in the digital economy was another point raised by Lee.

Meanwhile, Jokowi extended his invitation to Singapore to participate in the development of Nusantara, the new capital of Indonesia to be built on Borneo Island.

“I appreciate [the] enthusiasm [shown] by 29 Singaporean companies to invest in [Nusantara], and hope for support for the development of solar power in … Nusantara,” the president stated without going into detail.

According to Jokowi, the leaders also talked about initiatives to promote food resilience and grow medical tourism on Bali. He reiterated Singapore’s invitation to invest in the establishment of a data center hub on Batam Island, close to the city-state, and an industrial park in Central Java.

The summit on Monday was deemed “extra special” by Lee because it was Jokowi’s last gathering before he turns over leadership of Singapore to Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on May 15.

Wong attended the meeting in the Bogor palace with Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, who will take the oath of office as the country’s new president on October 20.

“Usually, the two leaders meet in four-eyes sessions. However, we were happy to have an eight-eyes meeting this time around with DPM Lawrence and Pak Prabowo present,” Lee remarked. “I have every confidence that Pak Prabowo and DPM Lawrence will continue to bring the relationship to greater heights.”

Teuku Rezasyah, a lecturer at President University and an associate professor of international relations at Indonesia’s Padjadjaran University, highlighted the leaders’ impending departures when he said the meeting on Thursday was significant. “The meeting,” he continued, “is a guarantee that their successors will carry on with all the ongoing agreements.”