The country's massive potential in renewable energy is heavily under-utilized because of fears about costs, feasibility and viability. More research could help to remove the risks.
Only 4% of renewable energy potential in use
Indonesia has so far tapped into a very small part of its renewable energy resources, with high costs and uncertainty over feasibility among the major problems facing the nascent renewables industry.
In a paper delivered at the International Workshop on Advanced Material for New and Renewable Energy (AMNRE) held in Jakarta in early June, Ms. Verina J. Wargadalam, the coordinator of the renewable energy research group of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, gave some new insights in the scope of these resources. With an estimated annual capacity in excess of 150 gigawatts (GW) from hydro, geothermal and biomass sources alone – not counting other high potential energy resources such as solar, wind and wave energy – current use at 2007 levels was less than 5.7 GW, she said. In a breakdown of potential capacities, she described how more than 1,300 potential locations for hydroelectric generation are spread across the country with an annual potential of 75 GW. More than 252 areas identified as potential geothermal fields have estimated small to intermediate enthalpy of about 30 gigawatts electrical (GWe) and high enthalpy of about 27 GWe. Regarding biomass, meanwhile, agricultural and forestry waste has an annual potential capacity of 50 GW.
Although the government has set a target to increase the proportion of renewable energy in its energy mix from year to year, Verina said bringing these highly potential energy resources to mass generation was not fairly feasible just yet. "Very few industries get involved in research and development activities for renewable energy projects because it requires large amounts of money," she observed.
The ministry, Verina added, was researching biomass gasification, fuel cells for power generators, bioethanol from industrial waste, geothermal reservoirs and wind turbines.
Source: PA Asia - Public Affairs and CSR, derived from The Jakarta Post, p.15, 10 June 09