Fidelis E. Satriastanti
WWF Indonesia launched a report on Thursday which mapped out the country’s geothermal resources in a bid to promote the use of alternative energy sources.
The report, titled “Igniting the Ring of Fire: A Vision to Develop Indonesia’s Geothermal Power,” said Indonesia had the world’s biggest geothermal potential as the country sat on the world’s most active volcanic belt, the Ring of Fire, which frames the Pacific Ocean.
There could be up to 29 gigawatts of electricity produced if Indonesia was into tap all of its geothermal resources, the report said.
That is more than enough energy to fulfil the needs of two of Indonesia’s most populated islands, Java and Bali, where demand peaked in April at 20.1 gigawatts.
Currently, Indonesia only uses 1.2 gigawatts of geothermal power, the environment group said.
“The WWF, globally, has launched a mission of 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. It is an ambitious mission but hopefully serves as an inspiration. [The] Ring of Fire [project] wants [to accomplish] that mission,” WWF project coordinator Indra Sari Wardhani said.
Indra said that Indonesia must harness geothermal energy by not overlooking environmental, social and economic impacts as well as the capacity of the regional administrations and local residents.
“Challenges for developing geothermal [power] start with regulation and governance. In terms of regulation, there is an overlap between geothermal areas and forest areas,” the WWF coordinator said. “Ways need to be found so forest conservation is not sacrificed. There needs to be best practices [of geothermal harvesting] which can serve as benchmarks.”
The government has said it wants 25 percent of power used in the country to come from renewable energy sources and a 25 percent drop in carbon emissions by 2025. But the WWF said Indonesia could exceed that by harnessing geothermal energy, which now only contributes 1 percent of the country’s energy needs.
Last month, Energy Minister Jero Wacik said the government planned to directly award more concessions to companies to speed up the sector’s development.