The Jakarta Post
As part of efforts to look beyond traditional energy resources, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry is planning to realize the development of power plants by making use of ocean waves and currents.
Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sudirman Said revealed his ministry would encourage the utilization of energy potential from the sea, a program that would be in line with the government's marine centered development policy.
'[The use of] waves and currents to generate power will be part of our effort to encourage the use of renewable energy. Marine natural resources will be the basis of future development,' Sudirman told reporters after the launch of Nusantara Day on Monday.
Ministry spokesman Dadan Kusdiana said some trial projects ' particularly on wave power plants and ocean current power generation ' had been carried out as part of efforts to utilize renewable resources.
The trial projects were performed by the country's Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) for 10 kilowatt generation in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), he said.
'In the past, we have also channeled some projects to an open bidding process for private players. However, none participated, perhaps because the technology is still not reliable,' Dadan said.
He added that the ministry would likely launch a pilot project for marine current power generation this year.
'A study is being worked on and we hope to be able to make a pilot project this year,' he said.
Dadan added that the location for the pilot project had yet to be determined. However, NTT is regarded as having the best areas for marine current power plants due to its location, where warm and cold ocean currents meet.
Indonesia is considered to have abundant renewable energy resources ranging from hydro to geothermal variants.
Figures from the ministry showed that as many as 75 gigawatt (GW) could be generated from hydro sources in the country, 112 GWp (gigawatt peak) from solar sources, 28.8 GW from geothermal sources, 950 megawatt (MW) from wind power plants, 32 GW from biomass fired power plants, 32 GW from biofuel fired power plants and 60 GW from marine current power plants.
However, the development of this potential has met with barriers, partly due to the expense required for small-scale projects.
Thus, the country continues to depend on fossil fuels to generate power.
In its long-term energy strategy, the government is targeting that renewable energy resources will account for at least 23 percent of total energy consumption by 2025.
Therefore, the ministry aims to boost the country's marine potential to help the government meet the target.
Minister Sudirman has said he plans to propose a bigger allocation from the state budget for the development of the renewable energy sector next year.
According to him, the ministry will earmark up to Rp 25 trillion, with around Rp 10 trillion allocated to the renewable energy sector.
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