Geothermal in Eritrea, Kenya, Barbados, Indonesia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines

This post brings you geothermal headlines from Eritrea, Kenya, Barbados, Indonesia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines.
 St VincentSt. Vincent volcano being explored for geothermal potential.
Photo by Kenton X. Chance, IPS

Click below for this week’s international geothermal roundup.

Africa and the Middle East

Eritrea – Nation and EU Sign Landmark Agreement That Includes Geothermal

Recently, Eritrea and the EU signed an agreement under the 11th European Development Fund with a framework that supplies approximately $220 million and defines an Eritrea-EU development partnership spanning the next five years, with focuses on renewable energy and governance. The agreement will support Eritrea’s efforts to change its energy policy and harness its rich renewable resources, including geothermal potential.


Kenya – KenGen Investing $650 Million in Olkaria VI Geothermal Power Plant

Kenya Electricity Generating Co. (KenGen), an African power generation, distribution, and transmission company, will invest $650 million in the construction and creation of the Olkaria VI geothermal power plant in the company’s eponymous country. The installed capacity of the new plant will total 180 MW. KenGen will most likely partner with Chinese, US, or Indian investors to support geothermal ventures like the Olkaria plants. In addition, they have received a $387.2 million loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency to fund construction of their fifth Olkaria project, with the loan agreement to be signed next month.


The Americas

Barbados – Possibility for Imported Geothermal Energy from St. Vincent

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines predicts that in the course of three years time, his country will reach near-complete self-sufficiency in electricity generation thanks to a combination of geothermal and hydro plants. Gonsalves sees the extra energy produced as having the possibility of being sold his country’s neighbor island Barbados.

His government partnered with Reykjavik Geothermal Ltd and Emera to explore renewable options. “We have, depending on which experts you believe, between 150 and 300 megawatts of geothermal power underground,” said Gonsalves. “They have a US $82 million project where we are going to build a 12 megawatt geothermal plant, so that by the end of 2018 . . . 80% of our electricity is going to be generated by geothermal and hydro[power].”

Due to the current pricing of fossil fuels, Gonsalves is not banking on his plan for Barbados to happen in the short term. But, “when the price goes up back, as the price will go back up, whether now or sometime down in the future, I would like to export energy down into Barbados,” Gonsalves concluded.


Asia and the Pacific

Indonesia – New Developments in Geothermal Resources in Jambi, 400 MW Uncovered

Indonesia’s The Mineral Resource and Energy Office of the Jambi Province have declared that two Jambi sub-districts have a combined 400 MW potential of geothermal power. Karel Ibnu Suratno, head of the Geology Department of the Office elaborated that the geothermal reservoirs are located in the Lempur Block of Kerinci, with an estimated 70 MW of potential, and in the Kerinci Seblat National Park, with a predicted 130 MW of potential.

“There has been an exploration study conducted in the Kerinci Lempur Block. The geothermal energy source will be developed to produce electric energy by PT Pertamina Geothermal Energi (PGE),” Suratno said.

In addition, the Jangkat Block of Merangin District harbors a 200 MW potential source of geothermal energy. PT Energy Development Corporation has been issued a permit to run a study in the Jangkat Block. “After that, there will be an auction for the exploration permit,” Suratno said.

The Indonesian government is currently focusing on their islands’ geothermal resources as a baseload renewable source to power the country. President Widodo stated that fossil-fueled energy had an expiration date so renewable energy, with geothermal production included, should become the island chain’s main energy source and should be utilized effectively. The government has commented that their country has a geothermal energy potential of, at the lowest, 29,000 MW in Sumatra, Java, and Papua together.

“Indonesia has the potential for developing a new and renewable energy source. We believe that Indonesia can become a sovereign nation in terms of energy,” Widodo stated.


New Zealand: Partnership Between Leading Universities in the Pacific Boost Geothermal Knowledge

Partnerships between New Zealand and Indonesia have grown thanks to a new agreement between their respective leading universities. The University of Auckland recently gave their signature to a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Indonesia that makes official a long tradition of cooperation between the universities.

New Zealand has imparted geothermal knowledge to Indonesia since their respective engineers teamed up to develop Indonesia’s first geothermal energy in the 1970s. Over 160 Indonesian engineers have attended the University of Auckland’s Geothermal Institute that, including UniServices, manages over $1 million per year geothermal exploration or similar contracts in Indonesia.

In addition, the University works with the Indonesian Ministries of Higher Education and Finance that in turn offer scholarships to allow Indonesian students to study in New Zealand and then return to their home country where they can contribute their newly-learned knowledge while giving back to their communities.

“Education is one of New Zealand’s trade priorities with Indonesia and the University of Auckland is proud to support that priority” stated Professor Jennifer Dixon, the University of Auckland’s deputy Vice- Chancellor of Strategic Engagement. “We look forward to seeing what academic contributions we can collectively make as a result of the sharing of knowledge and resources that this MOU promotes.”

The MOU was made official last year by Professor Ir Muhammad Anis, the University of Indonesia’s Rector, and Professor Dixon.

“The MOU indicates a mutual commitment of academic cooperation that will promote further educational collaboration and cultural understanding to make possible the exchange of students, scholars and educational resources,” said Professor Dixon.


Papua New Guinea – Island Nations Exploring Geothermal Options

Despite low oil prices, Papua New Guinea and Tonga are exploring their rich geothermal options. The former country has plans to develop its geothermal resources to harness an estimated 500 MW of power over the next 10 to 15 years. Meanwhile, Tonga is collaborating with the World Bank to streamline a decade-long energy transition roadmap to renewable sources, factoring in geothermal as a strong candidate. The two nations are in the initial stages of joining together, “developing and encouraging the use of geothermal energy in the Pacific.”


Philippines – Basic Energy Set to Drill in Mabini, Batangas

Soon, Basic Energy will drill the initial well in its Mabini Geothermal Project, based in Batangas, Philippines. The Project covers 3,841 hectares in the Calumpan Peninsula that, according to a pre-feasibility study, is expected to yield a capacity of 20 MW to 60 MW. Basic Energy assistant corporate secretary Angel Gahol stated that the budget details are not available to be disclosed yet until the consortium approves the allocation.


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