Govt to build solar cell company in West Java

Selasa, 20 Maret 2012 | 09:17

The Ministry of State Owned Enterprises plans to build a solar cell company in Karawang, West Java, in response to the growing suggestions that Indonesia should use more renewable energy and reduce its dependency on fossil fuel, a minister said."The company will produce a capacity of 60 megawatts per year, and the government has planned to invest Rp500 billion. The company is expected to start operations by November 2013," Minister of State Owned Enterprises Dahlan Iskan said here on Monday.

Earlier, Minister of Research and Technology Gusti Muhammad Hatta had said his ministry was continuously studying the pattern of geothermal energy utilization in Indonesia as part of the efforts to ready existing renewable energy sources for tapping by 2025.

"My ministry is continuously studying the utilization patterns since it has been planned that in 2025 new renewable energy should be ready in large amounts," he said.

Gusti added that the National Energy Board (DEN) had predicted that the availability of petroleum would deplete by 2020 so the preparation of renewable energy on a large scale should be started early.

Oil may still be available off the coast but it is deep inside the ocean and will require the use of advance technology and high costs to obtain.

Therefore, the renewable energy derived from various sources such as ocean currents, wind and plants (bio-ethanol) must be reviewed for use, the minister explained.

"In fact, in the near future we will be working on geothermal energy because we (Indonesia, Red) has 44 percent of the world`s geothermal potential," he noted.

The DEN version guided by the blue print of National Energy Management 2004 mentions that Indonesia`s energy source of fossil fuel, which is oil, will be exhausted within 18 years, gas in 61 years, and coal in 147 years.

Currently Indonesia needs as much as 1.5 percent of the world`s oil to reach 10.5 billion tons.

Meanwhile, Indonesia exports as much as 1.5 percent, which means that Indonesia`s ability to produce oil takes care of 3 percent of the total oil consumption in the world.

Earlier, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Jero Wacik said that renewable energy in Indonesia has not been fully utilized, especially the abundant solar energy.

"Solar energy is currently used only for drying coffee and during the tourist season, even though it can be utilized optimally," he said.

Jero noted that energy sources of oil will be exhausted but according to the data from the National Energy Board, renewable energy is currently only 5 percent of the total energy used.

So the government is working towards making sure that renewable energy reaches a minimum of 25 percent of the total energy used in 2025.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, there are currently around 28 sources of geothermal energy with a potential of about 7,000 megawatts that have been licensed for exploration by the Forestry Ministry.