Prospect and challenges of geothermal energy development in Indonesia

Indonesia is home to 40 percent of the world’s geothermal reserves with the potential of producing more than 27,000 MW of power. The abundance of geothermal potential of up to 40% of the potential capacity of the world has not become a mainstay in Indonesia.

By the end of 2013, the installed capacity of only 1,344 MW of geothermal power plants or grow only 3 MW only from 2013.

Why Geothermal?

Geothermal derives from the Greek words “geo,” meaning Earth, and “therme,” meaning heat.

The heat is directly below the Earth’s surface, making it a universal resource. The most active geothermal spots are found near fault lines and volcanoes but also occur where there are hot springs, geysers and geothermal reservoirs. It can be harnessed cleanly and efficiently.

Here are reasons why geothermal energy is a viable solution to a rapidly expanding global crisis.

  • It’s renewable energy : Geothermal energy is considered to be limitless. Its heat comes from the core of the Earth, a 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year energy source.
  • It’s convenient : geothermal heat can literally be found everywhere. There’s a constant supply. Geothermal energy is not dependent upon factors like sun or wind to generate power. Let’s not forget that it’s also local — geothermal energy never has to be imported.
  • A Cleaner Power Plant: generate electricity without spewing tons of toxins into the atmosphere.
  • etc.

More detail: “10 Reasons to Use Geothermal Energy“.

Geothermal energy is a sustainable resource because with proper management, a geothermal resource can remain a renewable source of energy.

What is Geothermal power plant  (Pembangkit Listrik Tenaga Panas Bumi or PLTP) ?

Geothermal energy is collected by tapping into hot water and steam trapped beneath the Earth’s surface. This water and its steam are known collectively as hydrothermal energy to power turbines, which in turn generate electricity.

Read more and learn how geothermal energy is converted into electricity on related post “Geothermal Electric Power Plant uses Crystallizer-Reactor Clarifier Technology“.

There are three main types of geothermal power plants:

  • dry steam,
  • flash steam, and
  • binary.

The 1st Country built geothermal power plant ?

Italy was the first country to create electricity using geothermal power in 1904.


Picture – PLTP Kamojang Flow diagram (Source : Gautamakarisma )

The first power plant in Indonesia

Geothermal Power Plant (Pembangkit Listrik Panas Bumi /PLTP) Kamojang is the first power plant in Indonesia, which was built in 1983. The first geothermal power plant with a capacity of 30 megawatts which then developed two more units with a total capacity of 110 MW in 1987.


Picture – PLTP Kamojang located in Garut West Java (Source: detikfoto)

Geothermal in Indonesia

Total: 299 points
Potential: 28,600 MW
15% -21% in forest conservation
18% -24% in protected forests
16% in production forests

Number of PLTP:
2012 is 1,341 MW
2013 is 1,344 MW

The target capacity of PLTP:
2013 is 1,476 MW and gradually each year up to 4925 MW
2014 is 2,349 MW

Target installed capacity of PLTP:
2014 is 1,719 MW
2015 is 3,516 MW

Challenges of geothermal energy development:

  • The resources risk is high due to lack of data accuracy
  • Limited funds for exploration
  • Upstream operating costs are high that require large investments (for development needs U.S. $ 3.5 per MW)
  • Long construction time about 5 years – 6 years
  • Geothermal energy prices are not competitive with other energy
  • Geothermal energy market is narrow (can not be exported and the single buyer)
  • Auction bidding mechanism of geothermal field management is not yet clear
  • The human resources in the management of geothermal fields in the local area and nationwide are still very few (rare)
  • There is an imbalance in the tender policy
  • Controversy in the development of forest nature reserves or conservation areas
  • The concession business license (IUP) take a long time

Indonesia geothermal energy is 1,344 MW installed of 27,000 MW potential by end 2013. Mean, it’s great prospect for leading investor/producer/interested parties of geothermal energy.

Video : “Chevron Produces Renewable Alternative Energy With Geothermal” (Courtesy of Chevron)

For more information on geothermal energy, please visit:….

Chevron is the world’s largest producer of geothermal energy, a renewable energy resource that captures the natural power of steam from the earth to generate electricity while producing almost no greenhouse emissions. Chevron’s geothermal plants in Indonesia and the Philippines produce enough alternative energy to power millions of homes. This video describes how Chevron produces geothermal energy.

Rerefences / read more:


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