Fri, 22 Oct 2010

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:A number of foreign countries have confirmed their intention to invest in geothermal resource sector in Indonesia. "We will push for this starting today until Christmas,” Murray McCully, the New Zealand Foreign Minister who has been in Indonesia since last Monday, told Tempo.

McCully said the collaboration will start with geothermal technology education. “We cannot specify the program yet,” he said. New Zealand is experienced in developing geothermal power since the 1950s. “We have collaborated with many countries on this, among them Chile.”

Following the Joint Ministerial Commission meeting between Indonesia and New Zealand last Tuesday, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa confirmed that Indonesia welcomed the collaboration in developing geothermal energy.

New Zealand has garnered 800 megawatt of geothermal power plant and plans to increase this up to 2.000 megawatt by 2020. Geothermal energy is the second biggest source of fuel after hydropower. The New Zealand government expects 90 percent of its electricity needs to be met by new sources by 2025.

Besides New Zealand, the German government believes Indonesia would be a strategic partner in developing geothermal technology. “Indonesia is making good progress. Its democracy is stable and its investment policies are positive,” said Karl Wendling, the deputy minister for External Economic Policies of the German Economic and Technology Ministry, at the Newest Energy Sources Conference in Berlin recently.

According to Tubagus Haryono, director of the Downstream Oil and Gas Commerce Regulatory Board, energy is crucial to Indonesia’s development. “That is why Indonesia wants to increase cooperation in the energy sector, including in investments in this sector,” said Tubagus, who represented the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry at the conference.

At the conference, German and Indonesian energy experts agreed to announce that Indonesia has a large potential to develop new energy sources, like geothermal, hydropower, solar and and wind energy, as well as bio-mass energy, in order to keep sustainability of supply. The use of new sources of energy this year, which is projected to be 4.4 percent or 1.186 megawatt, is still far below that of fossil fuel, such as coal (30.7 percent), crude oil (43,9 percent), and natural gas (21 percent). Yet, Indonesia’s geothermal energy potential is massive, given that it’s 16.000 megawatt or 40 percent of the world’s geothermal potential, which is 40.000 megawatt.

The Indonesian government has also set a target to increase the contribution of new energy to 17 percent by 2025. Meanwhile, the Energy Ministry’s target in the New Energy Vision 2025 can reach 25 percent of the national energy utilization.