This project upgrades the capacity of an existing geothermal plant, significantly increasing its efficiency. The power plant – the first of its kind in Indonesia – now generates even more clean, renewable energy, while improving the livelihoods of surrounding local communities.
There are over 150 active volcanoes in Indonesia, giving the archipelago nation huge potential for geothermal energy production. Indeed, 40 percent of the world's geothermal reserves are located underneath Indonesia, but only about 6 percent have been developed. Setting up a geothermal power plant is costly and risky. On top of this, geothermal exploration was classed as a mining activity by the government until 2014. This made it near-impossible to pursue, as almost 80 percent of Indonesia's geothermal locations are within protected national parks.
Located within Halimun-Salak National Park, the Gunung Salak Geothermal Energy project involves the capacity upgrade of three turbines at an existing geothermal power plant from 55 MW to 60 MW, significantly increasing its efficiency. This additional installed capacity of 15 MW allows the plant to generate more energy from the same source of geothermal steam. This helps service Indonesia's growing energy demands with clean electricity, reducing the need for emissions-heavy fossil fuel burning power plants.
The project creates social benefits extending beyond simple emissions reduction. The project promotes sustainable development and supports regional educational programmes, running activities such as book donations at local schools. The Gunung Salak project also improves employment opportunities by offering vocational training classes in the garment industry to unemployed local community members, and improves local transport infrastructure through, for example, upgrading roads and bridges.