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Bengkulu provincial government in Sumatra encouraging further geothermal development

Tes, Bengkulu, Indonesia (source: flickr/ sbamueller, creative commons)
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 12 Nov 2018

The Provincial Goverment of Bengkulu in Indonesia continues to encourage geothermal development in the province, putting strong trust in it as source for an expected increase of power demand.

The Bengkulu Provincial Government continues to encourage the use of geothermal geothermal energy to realize the area on the west coast of Sumatra as a clean energy barn.

With geothermal energy potential reaching 1,362 MWe, the regional government together with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has encouraged the development of geothermal energy which is currently only explored at one point, the Hulu Lais geothermal power plant in Lebong Regency.

“We are committed to making Bengkulu a clean energy barn,” said Acting Governor of Bengkulu, Rohidin Mersyah when opening the socialization of geothermal development in the Kepahiang geothermal working area this weekend.

According to Rohidin, the development of geothermal potential is none other than the people’s prosperity, through regional income. Based on data from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, there are five areas with geothermal potential in Bengkulu that are spread across three regency areas namely Lebong, Kepahiang and Rejanglebong.

Of these five areas, only two areas have been explored, namely the Hulu Lais Lebong Regency with a capacity of 2 x 55 MWe which is targeted to produce electricity at the end of 2019 and Bukit Daun PLTP with a capacity of 2 × 50 MWe targeted to produce in 2020.

The use of geothermal, said Rohidin, will be a renewable energy source that can be a substitute and even shift the power plant to fossil fuels, oil and coal.

He advised, the socialization to the surrounding communities also needed to be carried out clearly, so that they understood and were convinced of the benefits of geothermal management for mutual welfare.

Kepahiang Project

Besides geothermal in Hulu Lais and Bukit Daun, there are three other geothermal areas in Bengkulu Province, namely Tambang Sawah, Suban Ayam and Kepahiang.

Head of the Bengkulu Province Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) Office, Ahyan Endu, said that the one area to be developed is the Kepahiang project with the potential of hypothetical resources of 180 MWe.

“Geothermal resources were estimated to be 180 MWe but the planned 100 MWe was developed,” he said.

Kepahiang geothermal has been designated as Geothermal Working Area (WKP) in 2012. It is PT PLN (Persero) that will develop the WKP after previously being looked at by three large companies, namely PT Wika Power (BUMN), Kalla Energy and Hitay Energy Holdings from Turkey.

Director of Geothermal Directorate General of New, Renewable, and Energy Conservation (EBTKE) Ida Nuryatin Finahari who was present at the socialization said that the Kepahiang WKP located in the Kepahiang and Rejanglebong Districts, Bengkulu Province was immediately managed.

Ida said that in accordance with the government’s breakthrough in fulfilling energy needs and achieving a renewable energy mix of 23 percent in 2025, PLN was assigned to work on geothermal potential in various places, including in Kepahiang.

“Indonesia which is in the line of volcanic (ring of fire) has abundant geothermal wealth in each region. This must be used to meet energy needs and boost national energy independence, and PLN gets assignments for that, “he said.

He also mentioned that Indonesia’s installed geothermal capacity to date is 1,948.5 MW, or only 11.7 percent of the total potential.

In addition to being able to meet national energy needs, according to him, geothermal development also benefits the government, both the producing and central government because there is a bonus for geothermal production.

“In accordance with the Geothermal Law, there is a bonus for geothermal production that must be distributed to the government, both producing local governments, the local government and the central government,” he said.

Ida added, this year the government is targeting geothermal installed capacity to reach 2,058.5 MWe which is targeted to be realized in December 2018.

While General Manager of PT PLN’s Main Unit of the South Sumatra, Jambi and Bengkulu Region, Daryono explained, Bengkulu’s electricity consumption growth per third quarter 2018 reached 6.3 percent or higher than the national electricity consumption growth of 4.7 percent.

Considering the trend of economic growth, population growth, and the increase in the future electrification ratio, the projected electricity demand in this area in 2018 to 2027 will reach 1,775 GWh.

“To meet these electricity needs, of course, the construction of a power plant is needed by utilizing the potential of primary energy, in this case geothermal energy which is new and renewable energy,” said Daryono.

Risk Study

While the Coordinator of the Lebong Green Circle Alliance, Nurkholis Sastro, who advocated the landslide victims of the Bukit Daun PLTP project, Rejanglebong Regency reminded project managers to make a risk study of the Kepahiang project on the community environment.

“The project manager must reflect on the landslide case of the Bukit Daun geothermal power plant, which until now has left untreated damage,” he said.

According to him, there are three important points that need to be carried out by the manager, namely ensuring that the community understands the project risks to the environment and the community, must be professional and obedient and thirdly make social preparations with the community so that there is project support.

Kepahiang Regent, Hidayatulah Sjahid geothermal utilization in Kepahiang is located in conservation forest areas so that management is expected to be able to preserve the forest.

“The survey is indeed a long journey. Hopefully this is a bright spot, so that geothermal energy in the conservation forest area can contribute to future income, while maintaining sustainability, “Hidayat said.

To reach the Kepahiang WKP can be reached by using four-wheeled vehicles from Bengkulu to Kepahiang. The distance from Bengkulu is around 60 kilometers with a travel time of approximately two hours to the northeast. It is hoped that the Kepahiang geothermal development will be completed by 2025. This WKP covers the administrative area of Kepahiang Regency and in Rejanglebong District.

Source: Aktual