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Indonesia and Malaysia lead south-east Asian clean energy charge



Ben Charig examines the abundant clean energy opportunities presented by nations in south-east Asia.

Indonesia, home to more than 240 million people, is shining brightly as an emerging economy. According to the figures website Trading Economics, the Indonesian stock market has been growing steadily since the 1980s, to the tune of 5-6% annually, save for a dip in the late ’90s corresponding to the Asian financial crisis, and a second when the most recent recession hit. One indicator, the JCI (Jakarta Composite Index of Indonesia Stock Exchange), has increased by almost 2% in the past 30 days.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that Indonesia is a country lacking some fundamental infrastructure. It is a goal, for example, that, by 2035, 95% of the population will be provided with electricity. Contrast that with the fact that 95% of the UK population currently has access to mobile broadband, and it is clear that the south-east Asian nation has some serious catching up to do in the technology stakes.

Setting aside for now the issue of how electricity might be delivered to 95% of the Indonesian people, how is the electricity to be sourced? The country has historically leaned heavily on its oil and gas supplies to make money, choosing to export large quantities of the fuels to more developed, oil-hungry nations. Of course, the reservoirs are drying up, and Indonesia faces a real challenge to meet its domestic energy demand.

The Indonesian government acted early to rectify the supply problem by drawing up a National Energy Blueprint. It set out plans to wean the country off oil and start making better use of what it called ‘new and renewable energy’ (N&RE) resources – biofuels, geothermal sources, biomass, nuclear, hydro, solar, wind, and liquefied coal. According to the blueprint, these N&RE resources should constitute 17% of the country’s primary energy supply by 2025 – an impressive increase from the 4.3% they supplied in 2005.

The physical geography of Indonesia – a country composed of more than 17,000 islands – makes it difficult to supply all Indonesians with electricity, but it does lend itself well to renewable technologies like wind and hydro power. Fortunately, these are technologies which can be installed ‘locally’, meaning that rural Indonesian communities, so hard to fit into any kind of national grid, might one day be able to source their own electricity.

In 2008, the International Energy Agency carried out the Energy Policy Review of Indonesia, a substantial investigation into the country’s energy needs, resources, practices and future. A comprehensive report was published.

The report cites figures provided by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources indicating that, around the time of writing the report, the installed hydroelectric power capacity in Indonesia was 4,200 megawatt (MW). The energy potential from hydro power in Indonesia, according to the same table, was 75,670MW, implying that only 5.55% of the country’s potential was being exploited.

Look now at wind energy. When the review was being conducted, the installed wind energy capacity was a woeful 0.6MW. The potential meanwhile lay at 9,290MW – a figure nearly 15,500 times higher. To put those numbers into perspective, Germany’s wind energy infrastructure has a total capacity of 30,016MW, and neighbouring France has set itself the target wind power capacity of 25,000MW by 2020. Evidently, wind power technology is receiving significant investment in some parts of the world. So, why not take the fruits of that research to countries like Indonesia?

Biofuels, according to the Review, will feature very heavily in the Indonesian renewable energy roadmap. Indeed, by 2025, biofuels should constitute 5% of the total energy mix. The Review does raise some concerns, though, about the environmental impact of deforestation and other forms of land management to cultivate more palm and other such products. Only a few weeks ago, media reports indicated that, once again, a smoky haze had descended in that part of the world as a result of forest fires. Although some such events occur naturally, the clearing of land by burning has been found to be responsible for previous smogs.

Not to be forgotten is geothermal energy. The report indicates that as much as 27,000MW of power could be derived from geothermal sources. The installed capacity at the time was 1,052MW.

To harness the given potential from these various energy sources will require serious investment in both infrastructure and education. The country thus represents a significant opportunity for foreign enterprises specialising in renewable energy technologies – particularly in the wind, hydro, biofuel and geothermal spheres. An article recently featured in the Australian publication Ecogeneration refers to a report, published by the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), which highlights some of the areas of the Indonesian economy to which Australian clean tech companies might make contributions. They include, of course, the clean and renewable energy sector.

Indonesia’s neighbour Malaysia boasts the third largest oil reserve in the Asia-Pacific region. However, as with Indonesia’s oil, the quantity is limited and decreasing quickly. Thus the four traditional sources of energy in Malaysia – oil, gas, coal and hydropower – must be supplemented with more renewables. This was dubbed the Five-Fuel Diversification Strategy, and it was written into the ninth and tenth Malaysian Plans – similar to the Indonesian Energy Blueprint.

A 2010 paper written by researchers of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia analyses in some detail the state of the Malaysian energy sector. Again, just like in Indonesia, the paper found that only a fraction of the country’s renewable energy potential was being used. It was estimated, for example, that potential hydropower in Malaysia was 29,000MW, but, in 2008, the hydropower infrastructure provided only 2,091MW.

Ironically, Malaysia – one of the world’s greatest exporters of solar panel modules and a country with a daily average solar radiation between roughly 4 and 5 kilowatt hours/metres squared – only recently started to enjoy investment in domestic solar panel deployment. The government introduced the Malaysian Building Integrated Photovoltaic (MBIPV) project which provided financial incentives to investors connecting their solar systems to the Malaysian grid. The Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews publication this year featured an analysis of solar energy in Malaysia; it showed that the peak power supplied by PV systems installed as part of the MBIPV project was 213.61 kilowatts.

Palm oil, like in Indonesia, is a significant contributor to Malaysia’s economy. An article published by Bloomberg conjectured that Malaysian exports of the product might reach 19m tonnes in 2012. The extraction process generates vast quantities of waste in the form of spent tree bark, leaf, and so on. The challenge for clean energy companies is to turn that waste into viable biomass fuels – something which a number of groups have started to do. Nonetheless, there is definitely room for further investment and improved refinement techniques.

In conclusion, there clearly exists a great opportunity for clean energy companies from around the world to support a number of flourishing economies in the south-east Asian region. By offering skills, technical expertise and financial backing to clean energy projects in Indonesia, Malaysia and other nearby countries, investors can make a difference in a place where it will really count.

Ben Charig is a 22-year-old student from Lincoln. Having graduated from the University of York in physics and maths, he intends to pursue a career as a patent attorney. His interests include running, hiking, cycling and singing.

Further reading:

Bringing clean technology home: community-led cleantech

Clean energy faces “challenging” year, but long-term outlook still positive

China tops renewable investment index

The Guide to Limitless Clean Energy


What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?




shaker kitchen designs

A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.

When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.

1. Modern

New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.

modern kitchen designs

This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.

2. Classic

Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.

classic kitchen designs

With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.

3. Shaker

Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.

shaker kitchen designs

The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.

Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.

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Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy



Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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