AL Gore Touts Indonesia's Geothermal Potential


"Indonesia could become 'the world's geothermal energy superpower.'"

Indonesia has the potential to become the world's geothermal energy superpower, said Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. Gore spoke Sunday to 350 participants from 21 countries gathered in Jakarta for the Asia Pacific Summit for the Climate Project. "Scientists and engineers are now saying confidently that certain forms of enhanced geothermal electricity production may represent one of the largest resources of carbon-free electricity available in the world today," Gore said.

"And Indonesia could be a superpower of geothermal electricity. With the new regional super grids that are being proposed on every continent, it can be a significant advance for Indonesia's economy."

Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest economy, claims about 40% of the world's geothermal reserves.

By 2020, the Indonesian government wants to provide electricity access to 90% of its population; about 65% currently have access.

Last March Indonesia's energy and mineral resources ministry revised the country's geothermal potential to 28,100 megawatts, up from 27,000 megawatts a decade ago.

The ministry's geological agency said that with 30 years of operation, Indonesia's revised geothermal potential was equal to 12 billion barrels of oil. That compares with the country's current oil reserves of 6.4 billion barrels.

Under Indonesia's national energy policy, the government aims to obtain 95,000 megawatts of power from geothermal sources by 2025. Less than 1,200 megawatts of geothermal energy has been explored.

Because of their dependence on agriculture and limited resources, developing countries in the Asia-Pacific area are more vulnerable to climate changes, yet the region has many opportunities to deal with the issue, Gore said.

During the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced plans to voluntarily cut emissions by 26% by 2020.

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