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Amoseas to build third geothermal power plant
Dewi Santoso

Amoseas Indonesia Inc., a unit of U.S.-based ChevronTexaco, is currently under negotiation with two state-owned companies to build a third geothermal power plant, Darajat III, in Darajat, West Java, a company senior official has said.

Amoseas Indonesia president Bernie McCloskey said on Friday that the company had been holding talks with PT Pertamina and state electricity supplier PLN to agree on a contract for the power project. "We'd like to settle the contract as soon as possible -- maybe sometime this year -- but we can't really say when as we don't have a deadline," said McCloskey.

He said that the sooner the contract was settled, the better as it would take at least two years to complete construction of the power plant. McCloskey explained that under the first contract signed with Pertamina, Amoseas had been allowed to develop power plant in the Darajat area (near Garut) with a capacity of up to 330 megawatts (MW).

However, with its two existing power plants, Darajat I (55 MW) and Darajat II (70 MW), Amoseas generated only around 125 MW last year. "Thus, for Darajat III, we expect to expand the capacity to 330 MW," McCloskey said.

He declined to provide further details about the expansion project, saying: "I'm bound to secrecy as the project is currently under negotiation."

Under a contract with Pertamina, Amoseas acts as an operator of the electricity plants, which tap geothermal energy from a young volcano nearby. Electricity from the new unit is sold to PLN, which already buys power from the two existing units.

Geothermal energy -- pressurized steam, sometimes with hot water -- is an energy source produced when groundwater descending from the earth's surface meets the molten magma ascending from the earth's core in exceptionally hot surroundings. It is considered an environmentally clean energy source, with a carbon dioxide emission rate 90 percent lower than that at oil-fired power plants.

Sitting on the so-called "ring of fire" volcano belt, Indonesia is blessed with enormous geothermal resources. Data from the Indonesian Geothermal Association (INAGA) shows that Indonesia accounts for 40 percent of the world's geothermal resources, which can potentially generate more than the 20,000 MW of electricity.

At present, Indonesia has a number of geothermal power plants with a combined capacity of 747.5 MW (around 5 percent of the total geothermal potential). The plants are located in Kamojang, Salak, Darajat and Wayang Windu, West Java; Lahendong, North Sulawesi and Sibayak, North Sumatra.

The national power supply now stands at 21,000 MW, of which 18,600 MW is allocated for the main Java-Bali grid. Demand for electricity has been growing at an average of 8 percent annually over the past few years, which, analysts fear, will propel Indonesia into a serious power crisis in the near future if no new power supply goes onstream.

However, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Purnomo Yusgiantoro had played down such fears, saying that more power plants were due to come onstream this year and in subsequent years to meet the growing demand for power. Approximately 3,500 MW of additional power supply will enter the market from 2004 to 2006 with the completion of the Cilegon plant (750 MW) in Banten, and the Cilacap (600 MW), Muara Tawar (800 MW) and Tanjung Jati B (1,329 MW) plants, all in Central Java.

Sumber : The Jakarta Post, 13 Maret 2004

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revisi terakhir : 7 April 2004

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