Indonesia is set to increase its geothermal electricity production, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Monday.
The EIA said the country was the third in the world for geothermal electricity production and geothermal generating capacity in 2014, behind the U.S. and the Philippines.
"While Indonesia is located at the convergence of several tectonic plates in Southeast Asia, this gives the country a significant geothermal potential, although most of its potential reserves remain unexplored," the U.S. administration said.
Indonesia's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources estimates that his country holds a potential 29 gigawatts (GW) of geothermal capacity reserves, but only 5 percent of it is being used at the moment, while its current geothermal capacity is around 1.3 GW, according to the EIA.
Despite its high potential, geothermal currently makes up less than 3 percent of Indonesia's total electricity generation capacity. While nearly 84 percent of the country's population had access to electricity in 2014, compared to less than 68 percent in 2010, electricity capacity additions fell short with electricity demand growth, leading to power shortages in the country, the EIA noted. Inadequate infrastructure, insufficient investment and regulatory obstacles are other issues the country deals with.
However, Indonesia plans to reach complete electrification of the country by 2020, and increase its geothermal capacity significantly by 2025.
The country aims to develop more than 27 GW of total power capacity in the next several years, while 5 GW of new geothermal capacity will come online by 2022, by introducing several geothermal power plants. The country signed an agreement with New Zealand in 2012 to jointly develop geothermal energy projects.
Currently, fossil fuels provide 88 percent of electricity generation in Indonesia, while renewables -- mostly hydropower and geothermal -- account for the remainder. The country plans to increase its renewable energy use in its energy mix to at least 23 percent by 2025. But that depends on further developing the country's geothermal and hydropower resources, the EIA said.
"Successful completion of these geothermal projects could result in Indonesia becoming the world leader in both geothermal electric capacity and generation," the U.S. administration concluded.
By Ovunc Kutlu