Nusa Dua, Bali
The Bali Times
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pledged on Monday to make Indonesia the world’s biggest user of clean, renewable geothermal energy, and urged private investors to back him.
The archipelago of 234 million people and more than 200 volcanoes is estimated to possess around 40 percent of the world’s geothermal energy potential, or around 28,000 megawatts.
It already has plans to double its geothermal energy output but analysts say the high costs associated with converting underground heat into electricity is an obstacle to investment.
After the United States with close to 4,000 megawatts and the Philippines utilising approximately 2,000 megawatts, Indonesia is currently only using 1,100 megawatts [of geothermal energy].”, Yudhoyono told a conference here.
This is only some 4.2 percent of our geothermal reserves, which constitutes about 40 percent of the world’s geothermal potential. This is going to change. It is my intention that Indonesia will become the largest user of geothermal energy.
Within five years Indonesia aims to add 4,000 megawatts of geothermal capacity to the existing 1,189 megawatts to help meet national energy needs, he said.
By 2025 the country plans to generate 9,000 megawatts from underground heat sources including volcanoes, with help from the private sector and partners.
Geothermal energy generated from natural heat trapped under the Earth’s surface is far cleaner than the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, one of the main contributors to greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
Yudhoyono told the gathering that geothermal and other clean energies would help the country cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent over 2005 levels by 2026.
Coal and oil are by far the biggest sources of Indonesia’s growing energy needs, reportedly accounting for almost 70 percent, followed by natural gas and hydropower on about 18 percent each.
Geothermal contributes only three percent to state-run energy company Perusahaan Listrik Negara’s power capacity.
Indonesia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world but currently only 65 percent of Indonesians have access to electricity. The goal is to reach 90 percent of the population by the end of the decade.
The fourth World Geothermal Congress opened on Sunday in Nusa Dua and is expected to attract some 2,000 people from more than 80 countries over six days.