IBEKA give rural villagers and marginalized urban dweller ownership of hydro or wind grids through community-managed enterprises. Revenues generated are shared through a community fund used for improving village infrastructure, healthcare, and education opportunities.
Problems and Purpose
Over one third of the population of Indonesia lacks grid electricity. IBEKA is a non-profit organisation supporting rural electrification by installing small-scale hydro or wind mini grids (both off-grid and grid-connected) and setting up village-based organisations to own and operate the systems. IBEKA stands for Institut Bisnis dan Ekonomi Kerakyatan, which translates to People Centered Business and Economic Institute. Elements that support participation include community ownership of energy infrastructure (mini grid) alongside community-owned enterprises to run them. Revenues generated are shared through a community fund.
Background History and Context
Many Indonesians live in scattered communities on remote islands and, while hydropower has considerable potential to provide electricity, a wide number of hydro mini grids are abandoned due to the lack of maintenance.
IBEKA was founded in 1992 by Iskandar Budisaroso Kuntoadji. When his wife, Tri Mumpuni, joined the organization in 1994, she expanded the scope of its activities to address government restrictions and complicated financial regulations which pose challenges to Indonesian workers.
IBEKA’s strategy of installing community-owned, small-scale hydro or wind grids supports renewable energy, empowers villages in becoming their own energy producers and simultaneously enables economic diversity.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
IBEKA sources grants and increasingly loans and equity investment to finance the investment in these plants, covering costs of design, installation, community preparation and setting up the cooperative to own the plant. Typical costs for off-grid schemes are between US$4,000 and US$8,000 per installed kilowatt. Fees are paid monthly to the cooperative by each user to cover operating costs.
Grid-connected schemes are cheaper to install (they do not have to cover the cost of the distribution system), e.g. US$180,000 or US$1,500 per kilowatt. In these plants, development follows a similar pattern to off-grid, but the hydro capacity is made as large as possible, to maximise the financial return. The community enterprise gains income from electricity sales to the state energy company, PLN, and community members pay the company for their electricity use. (Lobbying from IBEKA helped bring legal changes which mean that PLN must buy electricity from micro and mini hydro schemes.). The company pays between US$0.07 and US$0.13 per kilowatt hour for electricity sold and community members pay at the national tariff for low-income households, about US$0.06 per kilowatt hour.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
IBEKA targets communities that have a conducive environment for wind or hydro grids. The specifically work to empower rural villages and marginal groups in urban areas.
Methods and Tools
IBEKA uses the community-owned enterprise method to establish local ownership and control of the hydro or wind grids. Community-owned enterprises are small and geographically focused projects that heavily involve the community in its operation in order to utilize local knowledge and thus allow for context-specific, dynamic, and sustainable interventions.
What Went on: Process, Interaction, and Participation
IBEKA co-design and co-install the mini grids with local manufacturers and with the help of the community (in both paid and voluntary capacities). Then IBEKA sets up community-managed enterprises to run the mini grid and trains villagers in operation, maintenance and management. Communities become owners of the energy system, making decisions for its design and operation, and with grid-connected systems they are also able to sell power to the national grid supplier. IBEKA works with communities to develop management plans, set a tariff structure that brings sufficient revenue to cover running costs, a maintenance fund and a community fund.
IBEKA requires that some of the income from electricity sales (both off-grid and grid-connected) is used for a community fund, and that each community sets its priorities for using this. The fund is usually used for improving village infrastructure (e.g. roads), healthcare, scholarships, clean water supply and sanitation.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
Families that previously burned kerosene to produce light paid a cost of up to US$6 per month, whereas the average monthly cost for electricity generated by micro-hydro plants is less than US$1.
Between 1992 and 2012, IBEKA installed 2,260kW of hydro capacity in 57 off-grid and four grid-connected plants, benefitting 54,000 people, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional village sources like kerosene, as well as the coal and oil traditionally used by the Indonesian grid. Six early plants are currently out of use: three are awaiting connection to the recently-arrived grid and three have problems with reduced water supply.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
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 Siemens Stiftung, “IBEKA,” empowering people. Network, https://www.empowering-people-network.siemens-stiftung.org/en/solutions/projects/ibeka/.
 Belotti, A. (2016). Community Enterprise: Creating Sustainable Communities Report from a Community Enterprise Think Tank (Report No. 110). Cheshire, UK: Trafford Hall: National Communities Resource Centre. Retrieved from http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/cr/casereport110.pdf.
The first submission of this Participedia entry was adapted from a research project by the Institute of Development Studies, 'Linking Participation and Economic Advancement’ licensed and reproduced under Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0). Original source: https://www.eldis.org/keyissues/mapping-participation-economic-advancement