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The Potential of Renewable Energy in Indonesia

Renewable Energy in IndonesiaRenewable energy in Indonesia will improve if the country continues to tap into geothermal energy. Indonesia is the second leading source of geothermal energy in the world. Yet, only 5% of the reservoirs are actually in use according to the NS Energy and U.S. Energy Information Administration. Unfortunately, geothermal energy is expensive to investors. However, a nonprofit organization called the Indonesian Geothermal Association (INAGA) is helping pave the way to unlocking an enormous renewable energy source in Indonesia.

What is Geothermal Energy?

Below the earth’s crust, magma heats pools of water. The heated water pools provide renewable energy. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory explains that “There are three types of geothermal power plants: dry steam, flash steam and binary cycle.” Each of the three systems converts the water into steam. Whenever someone uses the water, it undergoes recycling and goes back into the earth so that people can use it later. The harvested steam is geothermal energy.

As the world heads away from fossil fuels and global warming, geothermal energy could be an absolute game-changer for the industrial country and the Earth. The largest benefit is that geothermal energy is renewable. According to Stanford MAHB, experts expect that fossil fuels will run out in the next century. Indonesia already experienced nationwide blackouts and air pollution due to a lack of fossil fuels. However, geothermal energy may be a beneficial solution.

Indonesia’s High Geothermal Potential

Many know Indonesia’s location as the Ring of Fire, an area with the most volcanoes on Earth. Home to 147 volcanos, 76 of which are active, the area is very hot underneath the surface. Volcanoes contain much magma, which will allow for the successful harvesting of geothermal energy in Indonesia. Because of its location, Indonesia has 40% of the world’s stores for geothermal energy. Additionally, Indonesia contains 29,000 megawatts of renewable geothermal energy.

Cost of Geothermal Energy

Although Indonesia is moving toward using more of its geothermal energy, there are a few major obstacles that the country must face. World Bank country director for Indonesia and Timor-Leste, Rodrigo A. Chaves, says that “Financing for exploration drilling has been among the main barriers for geothermal expansion in Indonesia.”

Additionally, Think Geoenergy explains that “The Indonesian government projects geothermal investment needs of up to” about “$29.39 billion to boost the installed capacity of geothermal power plants (PLTP) to reach 8,008 MW by 2030.” Money for drilling is one of the largest conflicts to building more geothermal energy plants. However, a nonprofit organization, the Indonesian Geothermal Association, is working toward creating a smooth path.

Mitigating the Cost of Geothermal Drilling

As organizations such as INAGA advocate for more geothermal energy, the Indonesian government is taking notice. While there is a recent decrease in the budget for geothermal energy plants, the government decided to prioritize drilling wells in Cisolok, West Java and Nage in 2022.

Government organization, Geological Agency of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM), using the State Revenue and Expenditure Budget (APBN), will be working on drilling upcoming wells, which may reduce the cost of geothermal energy electricity. The government could allow incentives to developers to decrease the price of electricity.

Other Efforts of INAGA

The Indonesian Geothermal Association is working to combat the obstacles that blockade Indonesia’s geothermal energy potential. INAGA educates citizens of Indonesia about geothermal energy and advocates for the progression of geothermal projects in Indonesia.

The nonprofit organization also approves new geothermal projects for Indonesia. For example, INAGA recently gave support to a new geothermal establishment called BUMN. BUMN will be a state-owned geothermal plant in Indonesia and will help to harvest more geothermal power, providing more energy to its citizens. Additionally, INAGA is working with the government to create regulations for geothermal energy plants.

More Benefits of Geothermal Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy has explained the many benefits of geothermal energy. For example, geothermal energy is not only predictable and stable but it can also run for 24 hours. Additionally, it is able to control temperatures and produce electricity. Geothermal energy is also capable of reducing the carbon footprint.

The Asian Development Bank has stated that if geothermal energy in Indonesia becomes available, the country may be able to reduce its carbon footprint and help power other countries. Although there are many obstacles to overcome in the process, the Indonesian Geothermal Association is striving to create more renewable energy in Indonesia through the use of geothermal energy.

– Sydney Littlejohn
Photo: Flickr