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The Way We Use Energy

     The shortage of energy supply has always been a hot sociopolitical issue, even from the early days of the Republic. In political campaigns, energy issue are among the favored agenda topics. During and after election periods, both incumbent politicians and their opponents expound in long discourses on how energy should be utilized for the people’s welfare. Many tend to get on the wrong track, believing that the way to resolve energy shortages is simply to increase energy production capacity. Such a belief has led to excessive exploitation of the national resource base for energy conversion.

     First, such exploitation aims at producing as much energy in the shortest possible time at least cost. We have only to look at the exploitation of fossil energy resources such petroleum, natural gas and coal. The approach to production has been too supply-oriented, ignoring the limits of non-renewable stocks as well as the harmful environmental impacts. But there are other ways to solve the energy shortage. An important one is to change the way we use energy. We can accomplish a great deal by changing our habits of wasting energy and instead using it more efficiently. Where possible, we can use clean and renewable energy resources. These practice are known collectively as energy conservation.

         Next, coal was the main energy resource used to produce the steam that powered engines and machinery. New demand for coal resulted in heavy exploitation of coal mines. Such demand eventually outstripped the country’s coal resources, forcing a reliance on imports to meet industrial energy needs. Excessive coal exploitation also led to air and water pollution that deteriorated the quality of the environment. The public demanded more efficient use coal. Some experts succeeded in boosting efficiency, but despite these gains, the total amount of coal fueling the country’s economy kept on growing.

     Today, we consider national energy security an imperative, and it can only be attained if we keep adequate energy reserves. Energy security is also a prerequisite for national economic growth. In fact, energy conservation can make it all happen, and without such efforts it will be difficult to preserve the quality of the environment. Our transportation system, which is predominantly petroleum-fueled vehicles, used to be considered the ultimate solution to the need to quickly convey people and goods. But today, we are taken hostage by the same system. Traffic jams occur everywhere and only intensify day by day because of the serious discrepancy between road capacity and the number of vehicles on the road . we all have wasted our time and enormous amounts of energy while trapped in traffic jams; and still we may not realize how disastrous the excessive vehicle emissions are to our health and wellbeing.

     In conclusion, energy conservation programs support the national policy on energy, particularly in reducing the level of energy elasticity to maintain Indonesia’s energy resiliency in the future. The success of the energy conservation and efficiency programs depends on the availability of national instrument and the involvement of all stakeholders from the top management to operator levels. Funding for energy conservation and efficiency programs is in many cases a major handicap. This energy should be conducted in tandem with renewable energy utilization to give a maximum impact on combating the global climate change and reducing dependence on fossil fuels

Istiqomah

Bahasa Inggris 2008/B

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