Patra SK - News
Feb 27, 2015
A New Zealand - Indonesia Geothermal Energy Cooperation


Jakarta. With geothermal power an increasing commodity in Indonesia, the support New Zealand provides is of ever increasing importance.


For decades New Zealand has been working with Indonesia to help tap into its geothermal potential, with Dr. Greg Bignall, head of the geothermal department at GNS Science, understanding just how important this connection is.


He has been involved in the geothermal connection for the past 20 years and said he had high hopes for the New Zealand-Indonesian geothermal relationship.


“The New Zealand prime minister and Indonesian president have indicated that geothermal is an important area by which we can strengthen bilateral links — and at GNS we want to play our part,” Bignall said.


He added that exploration activities had started as early as 1974 in Kamojang, West Java, with Pertamina Geothermal Energy installing a 250 KWh mini block geothermal power plant in 1978.


The development has grown from there, and Bignall said at GNS Science the current focus was on geothermal research and training in Indonesia, with a particularly strong partnership with Yogyakarta’s Gadjah Mada University.


“We chose to work with them because of their good facilities and strong institutional support, and we hope to grow stronger links with our friends at Institute of Technology in Bandung,” Bignall said.


In addition to entry-level technical and non-technical courses, GNS also offers specialist geothermal courses on the industry’s request.


Bignall said they did their last course last December and regularly had 28 to 32 people on the basic courses. He will be visiting Yogyakarta soon for the next offering of GNS’s advanced courses.


“Geothermal staff retire earlier than in New Zealand, so much experience is lost from the companies, and there requires a constant retraining effort,” Bignall said.


However, he said he thought this was an area in which New Zealand could help, along with other aspects.


“One area that New Zealand can provide support, is in obtaining realistic resource delineation and capacity estimates.


“Providing a better inventory and capacity assessment of the known systems would provide reassurance to regional and national government on the true potential of the resources.


“What we need is more realistic, achievable targets and getting wins that demonstrate geothermal development success to the wider political audience, and the public in general,” Bignall said.


However, New Zealand working closely with Indonesia can have its challenges.


“GNS would be better able to support the Indonesian geothermal industry if the contracting processes were easier,” Bignall said. “We have recently provided rig geology services in the region, but our level of engagement is far less than what we do in Philippines — we could do so much more.”


But Indonesia still holds a special place in New Zealanders’ hearts, as Bignall said he “cannot think of any major geothermal development in Indonesia that has not involved New Zealanders or New Zealand lead decision making and advice … we’re linked.”


“Our New Zealand-Indonesian connection is important, because of the obvious advantages of utilizing a renewable, indigenous resource, that is not weather dependent.


“A win for the Indonesia geothermal industry is a win for geothermal use everywhere.


“It demonstrates the success, and provides confidence to the public that when managed well geothermal resources can provide reliable sources of energy with little environmental impact or issues.”


Bignall said they intended to maintain close connections with their existing academic and university collaborators and hoped to expand relations to others.


Source :

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