Environment and Resources

Project: Impact Evaluation of the Indonesian Domestic Biogas Programme (IDBP)

Project Duration

03/2011 - 12/2012 (finalized)

Commissioned by

Netherland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Policy and Operations Evaluation Department (IOB)

Project Team (RWI)

Dr. Gunther Bensch, Prof. Dr. Jörg Peters (Chief)


International Institute of Social Studies (ISS); JRI Research Jakarta

Leader of Consortium



In its transition from a lower income to a middle income country, Indonesia faces the challenge of rapidly scaling up its energy sector. At the same time, Indonesia is a country well endowed with both renewable and non-renewable energy resources. Renewable decentralized energy sources such as domestic biogas are especially suitable to meet this challenge due to the country’s archipelagic nature. In this context, the Indonesian Domestic Biogas Programme (IDBP), funded by the Netherland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented by the Dutch NGO Hivos, aims at disseminating around 8 000 domestic biogas digesters by the end of 2012. The purpose is to provide clean energy for cooking and lighting and thereby improve the living conditions of rural households. The target population are dairy farmers with a sufficient number of cows that produce the dung for biogas production. The total investment required per digester is around 500 Euros of which one fourth is subsidized by the programme with the remaining costs being carried by the farmers who usually receive a credit provided by the farmers’ cooperative. As part of the series of impact evaluations of development activities supported by the Netherlands on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, RWI and ISS assess IDBP’s socio-economic impacts. The idea is to conduct a difference-in-difference approach based on household surveys before and after the intervention. Possibly, this will be combined with a cross-section based pipeline comparison approach in the follow-up phase of the evaluation in order to make the impact evaluation less dependent on the assumptions underlying the difference-in-difference analysis. In May 2011, a baseline survey was conducted in the province of East Java, where 75 percent of IDBP’s digesters have been built. In total, 695 cooperative members in 60 villages were included in the survey. For the difference-in-difference approach, two groups of households were interviewed: First, the treatment group consisting of dairy cooperative members who had applied for the program and were about to obtain a biogas digester. Second, the control group consisting of dairy cooperative members with comparable features that have not applied for a digester. For the pipeline comparison approach, a second treatment group was defined, consisting of 101 farms, which were already using biogas digesters at the time of the baseline survey. For this pipeline approach, the applicants serve as control group. In a follow-up survey conducted one year after the baseline survey, all households of the 2011 sample will be revisited. By comparing the over-time difference in the performance of biogas using households to those households that do not own a biodigester, insights can be gained about how biogas usage changes the socio-economic living conditions of the households. Various aspects, e.g. expenditures and income, usage of energy sources, daily activities, and attitudes are examined as indicators for possible socio-economic changes. In addition to the household survey, a community survey, focus group discussions and qualitative interviews with stakeholders and households were conducted. Furthermore, another target region of the IDBP program, the island of Lombok, is investigated using qualitative methods in case studies in order to be able to compare the development of the program in two structurally different regions.

Selected project related publications

RWI Reports


RWI and ISS (2012), Impact Evaluation of the Indonesia Domestic Biogas Programme – A Baseline Report. RWI Projektberichte download