Indonesia has yet to increase the exploitation of its geothermal energy as a source of electricity. The country needed to be serious on this source of energy because of its abundance and also because its price could be competitive compared with that of other energy sources. Only PT Pertamina produced geothermal energy in the country and therefore its supply could be assured compared to the supply of gas or fuel oils which had also been exported.

Philippine investors have expressed interest in building a geothermal power plant in North Sumatra. The delegation, led by Dr Guillermo R Balce, offered plans to build geothermal power plants in several locations in North Sumatra, at a meeting with the province’s governor Syamsul Arifin.

Balce who is also chief of the Energy Development Corporation visited the region along with Philippine geologist Jeffrey A Caranto.

Governor Arifin liked the offer and supported the idea of investors.

We hope the plan could be realized as our region indeed needs more electricity. We indeed have sources of geothermal energy in several districts, Arifin said.

Arifin said that the sources were abundant and the operation of geothermal power plants could increase electricity supply in the region.

Center of Public Policy Study Director Sofyano Zakaria said Indonesia cannot as yet optimize the exploitation of its geothermal energy sources to produce electricity.

Zakaria said so, it is time now for the government to ask state-owned electricity company PLN to optimize its use of geothermal energy to operate its power plants.

As per data, there are around 16 locations of geothermal energy reserves in Indonesia such as Karo, Langkat, Samosir, Taput, Madina, Tapsel and Simalungun.

Balce said that he had visited several locations such as Pusuk Buhit in Samosir, Sorik Marapi in Madina and Sipoholon in Taput, and saw the encouraging potential.

We are dealing with large-scale geothermal projects of at least 100 MW capacity, Balce said.