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Indonesia Geothermal Sector Attracts Panax, Mitsubishi, BP, Chevron

Indonesia has had the lowest volatility in economic growth of any OECD or BRIC economy over the past decade, while its economy in the short term is conjectured at close to 7% growth per year, according to Proactiveinvestors.com.au.

Concurrently, recent efforts by the Indonesian government to attract geothermal companies seem to be having an effect. At a September meeting in Washington DC on Renewable Energy Opportunities in Indonesia, hosted by the US-ASEAN Business Council, speaker Joel Kopp (U.S. Embassy Jakarta) recounted the efforts of Indonesian leaders, who have set a separate feed-in tariff for geothermal at between 10 and 18.5 cents-per-kWh. Also, projects under 10 MW are required to be purchased by state-owned utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN). Kopp added that PLN has made improvements to their reliability, as well.

Australian Panax Geothermal is making strides in Indonesia. With three key geothermal projects scheduled to begin production in Indonesia over the next three to four years, Kerry Parker, managing director, commented to press on the company’s growth in Indonesia: “Panax has long recognized the investment potential in Indonesia, having launched several projects within the region and with plans to expand on our current interests,” Parker said. Projects for Panax include the recently negotiated power purchase agreements for its Sokoria and Dairi Prime geothermal projects, each with a planned initial capacity to generate 30 MW. Agreements are with Indonesian electricity regulator PT PLN and the Indonesian Government.

One company with increasing interest is Mitsubishi Corporation, which has agreed to acquire 20% shares of Star Energy Geothermal Pte Ltd ("SEGPL"). SEGPL manages operation of the 420-MW Wayang Windu Geothermal Power Project Plant in Java Island, one of the world's largest geothermal resources. This acquisition is the country’s “first entry into the Indonesian power industry and its first operation of a geothermal power plant,” according to the release. Mitsubishi could develop and operate multiple geothermal power plants in Indonesia in the future, including an expansion of Wayang Windu. 

Additionally, oil and gas giant BP (UK) could expand its business in Indonesia, it said recently. Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik told The Jakarta Post the government was curious as to whether BP would enter the geothermal energy sector after US-based Chevron “had successfully become the world’s largest geothermal power producer after years of operating in Indonesia.”

Chevron Geothermal’s policy, government and public affairs manager, Ida Bagus Wibatsya was quoted that the development could create healthy competition among geothermal energy developers: “It will be very positive for the development of the geothermal energy industry as well as supporting the government’s programs on renewable energy resources.”

This article was originally published in GEA's Geothermal Energy Weekly and was republished with permission.

Lead image: Indonesia map via Shutterstock

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Leslie is located in Washington DC at the Office of the Geothermal Energy Association and serves on the Renewable Energy World North America Conference and Expo committee.

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