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Page added on June 29, 2008

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Geothermal-rich SE Asia struggles to tap earth’s power

JAKARTA/MANILA (Reuters) – Faced with looming energy crises in their developing economies, power-hungry Indonesia and the Philippines are looking deep into the earth for a solution.

Both are in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area peppered with volcanoes and home to the world’s biggest reservoir of geothermal power.

“When I think of Indonesia and energy, I think geothermal. Indonesia has more than 500 volcanoes, of which 130 are active,” Lester Brown, president of the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute, told CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets in a speech in June.

“Indonesia could run its economy entirely on geothermal energy and has not come close to tapping the full potential,” he told the investment group.

That may be changing though as soaring oil prices, surging demand and creaking infrastructure in the power sector make it all the more urgent for both Indonesia and the Philippines to find ways to exploit their geothermal reserves.

But unlocking the potential is proving difficult.


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