PLN Geothermal starts drilling in Tulehu geothermal area, Indonesia

PLN Geothermal starts drilling in Tulehu geothermal area, Indonesia Lahendong Unit 2 plant Sulawesi, Indonesia - not directly related to story (source:
Alexander Richter 15 Dec 2010

Indonesian PLN Geothermal started drilling of the first well at the Tuleho geothermal project in Malaku Province, Indonesia and received a loan of US$80m from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Reported from Indonesia, “In a major step toward diversifying the country’s overreliance on fuel for power generation, the state electricity company (PLN) said one of its subsidiaries had started drilling the Tulehu geothermal field in Maluku. The company plans to open a 20 megawatt geothermal plant in the province to make use of the alternative energy source.

“We start drilling today, and expect to have the power plant in operation by 2014,” said PLN Geothermal chairman Tjahjo Sasmojo.

He added that PLN’s decision to scrap earlier plans to build a diesel power plant in the region will save the state company more than Rp250 billion ($28 million).

Tjahjo said the project’s total cost of $86 million will be largely funded by a $73 million soft loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). “We hope JICA can sign the soft loan by early March,” he said.

PLN is struggling to meet the national target of producing 55,484 megawatts by 2019 to power economic growth.

The state utility has been tasked with generating 31,958 megawatts with 23,525 offered to the private sector through the Independent Power Producer (IPP) scheme.

The government has announced a 20,000 megawatt fast-track program, divided into two phases, expected to be completed by 2014.

PLN expects to produce 10,000 megawatts by 2013 in the first phase, with the same amount produced by the private sector in the second phase by 2014.

Tjahjo said the Maluku geothermal plant is not included as part of this fast-track program.

“We have had plans to open this geothermal plant since 2007. We first examined the field in 2009, and will start drilling today,” he told the Jakarta Globe.

Tjahjo said the next plan is to explore the Mataloko field in Flores, in East Nusa Tenggara. “We do not know how much of the geothermal reserve there is yet. We are currently surveying the field,” he said.

The company also operates a geothermal plant in Lahedong, North Sumatera, and plans to expand its business further, into geothermal power plant machinery maintenance.

Source: Detik Finance, The Jakarta Globe

Thanks to Henry A Baso of Envent Power for pointing out this news piece to me and actually translating an earlier version.