Despite good geothermal potential, Flores Island in Indonesia lagging in development

Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia (source: flickr/ Gabriel ^(oo)^, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 6 Apr 2018

Flores Island in Indonesia has great geothermal resources but is still waiting for the first geothermal power plant to provide electricity. There is though optimism that the first plant could start operation within the next 5-7 years.

A local paper recently reported on a visit of the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia Ignasius Jonan to Flores Island. He seems to understand the natural resource condition of Flores Island, NTT, especially the geothermal energy that can be exploited as a reliable source of power generation.

During his visit, Minister Jonan said he is optimistic that within the next five or seven years, Flores Island can already have its own geothermal power plant.

The optimism is based on the fact that currently some geothermal power plants are being built in the mainland of Flores Island, so the projects are running smoothly, so it is possible in the next five years, Flores already has its own power source originating of geothermal energy.

Based on geological study results, Flores Island has many potential sources of renewable energy sources (EBT) originating from geothermal, such as in Mataloko, Ngada Regency, Ulumbu in Manggarai Regency, Sokaria in Ende Regency, and Oka Ile Ange in East Flores Regency .

Overall, the geothermal potential of Flores Island reaches about 115 MW of which spread in Waisano, West Manggarai regency of 10 MW, Ulumbu and Lesugolo Kabupaten Manggarai with a total of 45 MW.

In addition, in Mataloko, Ngada District of 20 MW, Sokaria, Ende District 30 MW, Oka Ile Ange, East Flores Regency 10 MW.

“If all the geothermal potential is done as planned, then in the next five years, Flores already has its own power plant,” he said.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia along with PT Arun has undertaken a roadmap to develop geothermal energy on the island of Flores with the Directorate General of New Renewable Energy from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources.

“Geothermal is the largest potential for EBT on the island of Flores, which is dominant because it has a row of volcanoes spreading from western to eastern Flores,” said NTT Bure Marisin Head of the Department of Mining and Energy of NTT.

The main motivation that pushed WWF Indonesia and PT Arun Jakarta to build the cooperation is to make the potential of EBT that comes from the geothermal as the icon of Flores Island, namely “Flores Geothermal Iconic Island”.

The Ministry of ESDM has appointed PT PLN (Persero) to develop Geothermal Working Areas (WKPB) Ulumbu and Mataloko with a capacity of 50 MW and 22.5 MW respectively. “For geothermal development in the two areas it is targeted to enter our system in NTT by 2020,” Marisin said.

In addition to the geothermal potential of Flores Island, the Atadei sub-district of Lembata Regency also has 40 MW of geothermal reserves with a total utilization area of 31,000 hectares.

Looking at the existing potential, the government of East Nusa Tenggara continues to encourage increased investment in the field of EBT according to the potential of each region so that gradually the electricity needs in remote areas can be met and the electrification ratio will also increase.

There is a certain scepticism on the government’s optimism towards the development of EBT from the geothermal resource sector in Flores Island, as there are still issues on determining the basic tariff for geothermal electricity.

“The determination of the basic price for geothermal energy is still under study by the central government, because the EBT is a new source of electricity that has never been implemented in Indonesia,” said Boni Marisin. Of course, it is expected that the electricity sale price will not be too burdensome for investors.

On that basis, it continues to encourage the development of geothermal in Flores Island to become an icon in the area as well as the development of microhydro as an icon of Sumba Island.

Source: Antara News

Note: This article and its title were adapted (April 9, 2018) following a correct comment that there are two geothermal plants, 10 MW Ulumbu plant (4×2.5 MW) and the 2.5 MW Mataloko geothermal plant on Flores Island. We would like to thank Amir Hisham Albakri for the correction.