Geothermal Classification Is Piloted On Indonesian Island

‘Uniform classification’ of geothermal resources may help attract Indonesian geothermal investment

Flores, an Indonesian island named for its beautiful flora, is the test-bed of a newly adapted classification guidelines for geothermal projects. Dubbed the ‘UNFC Geothermal Specifications,’ this United Nations’ adapted resource classification system is for the first time being piloted on the small island with the support of IRENA, the International Geothermal Association (IGA) and the World Bank.

Committed to improving socio-economic conditions through stable and reliable energy access, some countries with the right resources are pursuing geothermal energy. Challenging this pursuit, however, has been the struggle to attract financing — showing that to succeed a project needs to be more than just technically possible.

“Tapping into geothermal energy is about more than just steam,” says Abdulmalik Oricha Ali, an IRENA programme officer helping to coordinate the new geothermal assessment pilot schemes.

“Geothermal energy can only benefit anyone if it’s economically competitive, and for that investors need both technical and socio-economic assessments,” Ali adds.

The UNFC Geothermal Specifications can be used by Indonesian authorities to promote clarity to potential investors on geothermal prospects.

The UNFC system holistically encompasses the management of socio-economical, technological and uncertainty aspects of energy and mineral projects. Using the classification system’s project maturity and resource progression model, investors can identify projects to match their preferred risk profile, reduce exposure to potential costly failures and protect their investments.

It is estimated that across 17,000 Indonesian islands there could be as much as 29.5 gigawatts (GW) theoretical geothermal potential, and the country has set in motion plans to harness it.

In 2017, Indonesia had almost 2 GW of installed geothermal capacity, and during September’s High-Level Conference of the Global Geothermal Alliance, Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources outlined how the country intends to become the world’s biggest producer of geothermal energy by 2021.

Read more from IRENA here

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