Indonesia’s Hot New Energy Resource

Volcanoes have been nothing but a hassle for the last several weeks.  The Eyjafjallajokull volcano caused mayor problems for Europe with the canceling of more than 100,000 flights costing the airlines over $2 billions.  This past weekend Iceland’s main international airport was closed for three days due to the erupting volcano.

Indonesia is looking to turn the negative effect volcanoes have into a positive one.  According to Inhabitant.com, the Indonesian government recently announced plans to generate 4,000 megawatts of geothermal energy from volcanoes by the year 2014.  This could potentially offer power to 35% of Indonesia’s population who are currently without electricity.

Inhabitant.com states that, “Indonesia is really the perfect place to develop large-scale geothermal projects: the archipelago’s 17,000 islands hold hundreds of volcanoes, and all that heat could be converted to renewable electricity. But while the country holds about 40 percent of the world’s geothermal energy potential, it currently lags behind countries like the US and the Philippines in developing the technology.

Geothermal’s main limiting factor is its high upfront cost. Geothermal plants cost about twice as much as coal-fired power plants, and establishing enough plants to add 4,000 megawatts of energy will cost about $12 billion. Still, if developers can raise the dough, producing electricity from geothermal energy has lower overhead costs and causes far less pollution than coal plants.

Leaders plan to seek the funds to develop more geothermal plants from private investors, the World Bank, the US and Japan.”

Wikipedia.org writes that, “Geothermal wells release greenhouse gases trapped deep within the earth, but these emissions are much lower per energy unit than those of fossil fuels. As a result, geothermal power has the potential to help mitigate global warming if widely deployed in place of fossil fuels.”

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