Determining Indonesia Geothermal Potential and Its Current Development

Oleh Adi Permana

Editor Adi Permana

BANDUNG, – Master's Program in Geothermal Engineering ITB held an online forum titled Updating the Procedures and the Regulations of Geothermal Exploration in Indonesia on Friday (27/5/2022). This forum presented Herlambang Setyawan, S.T., M.Si., a Sub-Coordinator Supervisor of Geothermal Exploration and Geothermal Junior Policy Analyst at the Directorate General of New, Renewable Energy, and Energy Conservation as the main speaker.

In his presentation, Herlambang explained that Indonesia has a lot of potential for geothermal energy development. Moreover, geothermal is considered a clean and environmentally friendly source of energy. Herlambang said Indonesia has the potential for around 23,36 Gigawatt of geothermal energy to be developed. However, only 2,29 Gigawatt has been successfully exploited with an investment value of 0.731 USD.

"The utilization of geothermal energy for generating electricity is still very minimal compared to the other energy resource, lower than 10%. In fact, it is expected that geothermal will become the main source of future electricity generating systems to support Indonesia's goal of becoming a net-zero emission country in 2060," said Herlambang.

This is in line with the PLN Electricity Supply Business Plan which set targets for the additional capacity of 3355 Megawatt from geothermal power plants for the next ten years. To reach this target the agency divided the geothermal exploitation scheme into two categories of Geothermal Working Areas (GWA), the new GWA and the existing GWA. Each category has different approaches to how geothermal exploration, exploitation, and utilization will be carried out.

"Currently there are 63 Geothermal Working Areas (GWA) and 15 Preliminary Survey Assignment & Exploration Areas (PSAEA), some of the GWA are already generating electricity, some are still in the exploitation stage or waiting for preliminary study, and there are some that their development phase has not even begun yet. For PSAEA, there are around 12 Preliminary Survey Assignment & Exploration (PSAE) enterprises that have won the contracts and one of them has finished the drilling phase of the exploration stage.

In accordance with Law No. 21 Years 2014 on Geothermal Energy, Article 31 wrote that geothermal exploration can be carried out as late as 5 years since its Geothermal License (GL) was issued and can be renewed two times, each with a one-year extension. However, with the current initiative on exploration acceleration, the government has decided to alter the regulation through the Draft Decree of the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources on Exploration Timeline Extension which will be finalized soon. In addition to changing the regulation, the government also supported the initiative by providing material support through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and the Ministry of Finance, and multiple SOEs, especially in the eastern provinces of Indonesia.

Herlambang added that there are some challenges that are faced by this geothermal adoption acceleration initiative, from the conservation status of some of the GWAs to cost efficiency and financing problems. Moreover, the cost of electricity produced by the geothermal power plant is required to be competitive and fulfill the sociodynamics aspect of the local community in order to gain government approval and finance.

"Responding to those challenges, a strong commitment from the enterprises, academics, and the wider community is needed to carry out the government's strategy which has been planned before," he said.

Reporter: Hanifa Juliana (Regional and City Planning, 2020)
Translator: Favian Aldilla R (Civil Engineering, 2019)

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