Indonesia: Lawmakers Agree to tap Volcano Power
The Indonesian parliament passed a long-awaited law in August 2014 to bolster the geothermal energy industry and tap the power of the vast archipelago’s scores of volcanoes.
Made up of more than 17,500 islands stretching from the Indian to the Pacific oceans, Indonesia is home to 130 volcanoes and is estimated to hold about 40 percent of the world’s geothermal potential.
However, it produces only a tiny fraction of its energy by converting underground heat into electricity. Although Indonesia is the world’s third largest producer, behind the United States and the neighboring Philippines, the growth of its industry has been stalled because red tape and legal uncertainty have obstructed much-needed investment.
The government hopes the law will speed up the development of the sector. Most important, the law stipulates that exploration for geothermal energy and development of plants is no longer considered mining.
Indonesia is estimated to have more than 28,000 megawatts of geothermal potential but is currently producing just over 1,300 megawatts a year of its electricity from the clean source. Most of its electricity comes from coal and oil.