Sat, 03 Apr 2004

RI urged to utilize geothermal power

SANUR, Bali: Out of a total estimated 20,000 megawatt (MW) geothermal reserve in Indonesia, only 832 MW has been utilized.

The small amount of geothermal power being utilized by Indonesian companies is cause for concern for us all, as the country's 20,000 MW reserve is 40 percent of the total geothermal reserves in the world, said Sukesan Soemarinda, a senior official at state-owned oil and gas company PT Pertamina.

Sukesan, the general manager of the company's geothermal unit, said geothermal reserves in Indonesia could be found in places where volcanoes were located, such as Sumatra island, southern Java and East Nusa Tenggara province.

Sumatra has 9,500 MW in geothermal reserves, Java-Bali has 5,600 MW, Sulawesi 1,500 MW and other locations 2,800 MW.

Indonesia is the fourth largest country in terms of the utilization of geothermal energy, after U.S. with 2,280 MW, the Philippines 1,990 MW and Mexico 855 MW.

Sukesan said Indonesia could not fully utilize its geothermal power because it cost a lot of money to turn the geothermal reserves into energy.

To turn one MW of geothermal reserves into ready-to-use energy costs US$1.7 million. -- Antara