Indonesian students join competition to promote renewable energy in rural areas

January 4, 2023

A competition to promote renewable energy in rural areas aimed to create a buzz on the consumption of renewable energy particularly among the country’s youth The Business Plan Competition in Renewable Energy (BPCRE) targeted students from vocational schools and universities.


Jakarta, January 4 – A group of students from the University of Indonesia has emerged as the top winner of a UNDP youth contest on renewable energy production for their proposal to develop virgin coconut oil in rural areas.


The month-long competition was hosted by UNDP’s Accelerating Clean Energy Access to Reduce Inequality (ACCESS) Project which aims to generate fresh ideas on using and producing renewable energy in Indonesia’s rural areas, where access to reliable and affordable electricity is a challenge. 


Rounding the top four are students from the University of Brawijaya for their proposal on  chicken farm technology, another group from the University of Indonesia for their idea for an eco-friendly fish net and the University of Jember for their idea of a solar lamp system for fishers.


The competition aims to create more buzz on the renewable energy consumption particularly among the country’s young which accounts two-thirds of the population. The Business Plan Competition in Renewable Energy (BPCRE) was targeting at students from vocational schools and universities.


Participants were asked to submit business proposals to support areas in the provided  list of locations such as Muara Ripung, Central Kalimantan, Ekapata, (East Nusa Tenggara, Wangkolabu, South East Sulawesi, and Saluleang, West Sulawesi. The chosen locations are the sites of UNDP’s ACCESS project.


The submissions went through two stages of evaluation. Out of the submitted 34 proposals, eight  groups were chosen to join the business coaching session, conducted on November 22, 2022. Attended by 35 participants, the coaching session focused on strengthening four important aspects including the SDGs in businesses. Village-owned businesses (Bumdes) which isa major player in village economies utilizing renewable-based electricity effective , and the Business Canvas Model approach for business plan development.


“It is important for village residents in locations where ACCESS operates, to identify potential business ideas which could help them utilize electricity from the Solar PV Power Plant (PLTS) that the project will construct,” said Mathilde Sari, the National Project Manager of ACCESS. Echoing the importance of local economy development, Mr. Gatot Widodo, one of the jurors from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) noted that “a productive economy will benefit from improved access to electricity, especially in remote areas.”


 “It’s good to see many great business ideas from the students through BPCRE.I hope the coaching session provides insight that help village residents, particularly where the ACCESS project operates, to further enhance their entrepreneurial ideas,” said Dody Iswandy, one of the coaches, after facilitating the session.


BPCRE has engaged 152 students (96 men and 57 women) from various universities in Indonesia. The proposals focused on four target areas, namely food & beverages, services, eco-friendly products, and local handicrafts. The jurors of the competition were from UNDP Indonesia, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources.


“The BPCRE was a memorable experience. Not only it gives us opportunity to learn, but it also challenges us to be more independent throughout the competition. BPCRE teaches us new information about remote areas in Indonesia that still do not have electricity. We really hope that our proposal can help the people in ACCESS villages,” said Rahayu, a participant from the University of Brawijaya.


Funded by KOICA, the ACCESS project aims to support the poor and most vulnerable communities to have equitable and sustainable access to essential services for improving their livelihoods. At the end of the project, by 2023, with a minimum of 30 percent of women as direct beneficiaries, the Project is expected to result in access to electricity to at least 20,000 people in Indonesia and Timor-Leste and access to water to 3,500 people in Timor-Leste from the total installation of about 1.2 Mega Watt communal solar-PV power plants, improve the technical capacity of 80 local people and enhance the sustainability of built clean energy infrastructure at the village level by establishment of local energy service institutions.

Text by Elizabeth Gabriela and Imas Agustina

Edited by Tomi Soetjipto and Ranjit Jose