Energy justice for whom? Territorial (re)production and everyday state-making in electrifying rural Indonesia

Hilman S. Fathoni*, Abidah B. Setyowati

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This article seeks to examine the material implications of the emergence of an energy justice (energi berkeadilan) vision in Indonesia, paying particular attention to the state's spatial practice to achieve such a vision in the form of rural electrification programs including the deployment of off-grid decentralised renewables. Informed by semi-structured interviews, participant observation and secondary data analysis, we contribute to the growing conversations on geographical political economy of energy transitions by closely attending to the multiple space-making processes characterising the Indonesian government's pursuit of their energy justice vision. Inspired by Henri Lefebvre's ideas on state space and territory, we begin by unravelling the historical connection between the rise of energy justice vision and the Indonesian state attempts to maintain and expand its territorial reach through rural electrification, as evidenced throughout the country's contemporary political economies and its earlier history of postcolonial struggles. We simultaneously unpack various legal mechanisms and instruments underpinning the government's efforts to deliver energy justice promises by way of universal electricity access, demonstrating the centrality of such strategies in the (re)production of state territories. Through inquiring how energy justice is mobilised by (and for) the Indonesian state, our study illustrates that such everyday state-making processes entail a calculative technique as another form of territorial intervention that obscures the reality of socio-spatially uneven and fragmented electricity access in rural Indonesia. Such findings, we suggest, reveal the contradictions in the state's repositioning as a main enabler of energy access provision and, more broadly, a socially just energy transition.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)49-60
    Number of pages12
    JournalGeoforum
    Volume135
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

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