Jun 30

Geothermal Plant in IcelandIndonesia is planning to build 4 Nuclear Powerplants by 2025, with the first one going into service no later than 2016 in Jepara/Central Java, on the slopes of Mount Muria, despite strong opposition from local residents and environmental activists.

Due to its growing economy, there is demand for an additional 5.000 megawatts of electricity, building Nuclear Plants is said to make the country less dependent on fossils like oil or coal, while providing the necessary power at ease.

The question is: why build Nuclear Reactors in an area plastered with Volcanoes and prone to earthquakes, flooding and tsunamis? Aren’t there any alternatives? Luckily there are:

Geothermal Energy can be a valid green alternative, which could help satisfy Indonesia’s rising energy demands and boosting its reputation for Global Warming topics beyond the ‘warm words’ of the Bali Climate Conference.

Geothermal Power – what is that?

GeoThermal Plant simplified illustration by TXUIt’s energy created from beneath the Earth’s surface, by harnessing Volcanoes or Hot Springs and absorbing and storing this energy for economic use. From an ecological standpoint, Geothermal Energy is considered clean and safe for the environment. There is no fallout or waste to be taken care of and it can reduce the reliance on fossil fuels with their inherent price unpredictability.

Geothermal Powerplants are also pretty scalable and cost-efficient – you can have a smaller one for rural areas or village communities and larger ones, capable of powering whole cities.

But is Geothermal Energy for real or only fiction?

Geothermal Energy is for real! Take Iceland as an example. Iceland has one of the highest energy consumptions per capita in the world. That means that per head of the population, more energy is needed than anywhere else. Yet Iceland manages to satisfy their energy needs completely without Nuclear Power and its long-term effects like nuclear waste.

How do they do it?

Currently 55% of the energy consumed is produced by Geothermal Powerplants, 17% by eco-friendly hydro power plants and only app. 30% with fossil fuels. The vision of Iceland is to become the first nation completely independent from fossil fuels or nuclear power over the next couple of years.

20 other countries or states are making progress with geothermal energy as well – and you don’t have to go to California (with the biggest geothermal installations) to see the latest developments. Even countries like Mexico, Russia or Turkey discovered already the benefits of Geothermal Powers. The Philippines are even the 2nd largest producer of geothermal energy after the US.

Okay, I hear you say. Are you now comparing Iceland and Indonesia???

What works for a handful of blue-eyed fish eaters won’t work necessarily in the world’s 4th most populous nation, right?

And why not?

Last time I counted, Indonesia has currently about 500 active volcanoes, compared to Icelands mere 18. If they can harness the power of volcanoes for green energy demands, why can’t this huge island nation?

Indonesia and Volcanoes in Google EarthJust have a look at Google Earth, with Volcanoes switched on. It will look like the map above. Every little orange cone is a volcano and Indonesia has plenty of them. Now imagine just a few nuclear plants in between and you know that you will at least get some goose bumps thinking about what could happen in a worst case scenario.

Tschernobyl anyone?

There are some problems too, in tapping into the vast potential of geothermal energy.

The Philippines cite the increased acidity of volcanic areas, which corrodes the pipes in a very short time as the main problem. In Indonesia, the main problems are more about traditions, politics and money.

A test project near Bedugul in Bali sparked protests by local residents who feared for the sacred area and were afraid of water pollution in nearby lakes.

But all these problems seem minor compared to the unthinkable troubles Nuclear Power Plants can cause in an unstable tectonic area like Indonesia. The best alternatives are right here in front of our eyes.

Just how long do we have to wait before we start to tap into modern and green energy technologies. Do we really need to gamble on the future of the next generation by erecting Nuclear Power Plants in earthquake regions?

What do you think?

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written by Chris

20 Responses to “Volcano Power instead of Nuclear would put Indonesia ahead in Green Energy Actions”

  1. devariNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    why Nuclear Reactors? I just hope my govt indonesia does not try to implement blue print of north korea :)

    Bali geothermal? still fiction so far. too many local values (local genius or local idiots) are confronted.

  2. jakaNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    Cervus Chris!

    In reality, Indonesia has geothermal power plants in west java (Kamojang and Darajat, pls do some google search) and probably in Dieng, too, since long time. About why not yet widely developed in other area, you can ask our geologists then. Me no geologist. ;-) Maybe related to cost (as usual).

    Oh, Indonesia has thought about using Ocean-thermal energy (OTEC) too! Veery abundant! Dont know why no progress.

  3. Global Voices Online » Southeast Asia: Alternative sources of energy UNITED STATES Says:

    […] issue was recently initiated by these countries with China, South Korea, and Japan. But nomad4ever opposes the building of nuclear plants in Indonesia: “Due to its growing economy, there is demand for an […]

  4. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    devari and jaka – thanks for the additional insight!

  5. UjangNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    I think, don’t be under estimated on Nuclear power plant, it will be dependent on what technology or power plant Tech. generations will being used in 2025. not like Chernobyl Nuke power plant (first generation.) caused by cooling system failure.

    :-? for example fusion nuclear power plant is best way to full fill electricity demand in Java.

  6. InspectorGadgetNo Gravatar REPUBLIC OF KOREA Says:

    Nuclear reactors are generally pretty sturdy things but I understand your concern. Japan, which is also a highly active region, has nuclear power. There was an small accident there a few years back I think during a quake. And where would the waste go? That’s certainly one thing you can’t do – store waste in geologically active areas. You need somewhere dormant for millions of years to come.

    Ho hum :-B

  7. UjangNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hi again

    I said it’s depend on what technology and Power plant generation will be used. for example fusion-fission nuclear –> it doesn’t make any waste such common fission nuclear power plant with Uranium or Plutonium or something else

    I think, Geothermal in java will be not reliable and applicable any more, because the ground water soon will be depleted, million or maybe million hectare rainforest has been converted to be piles of wooden logs and swap agricultural business. World need papers and other purpose and local people need money. reforest the rainforest need more than twenty years I think…

    Long term economic development must be not only in java and make better future for our heavenly planet.

  8. UjangNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Dieng has a Geothermal power plant belong from Indonesian power. As I know, they don’t have sufficent ground water which to be vaporated by geothermal energy

  9. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    My concern is more the Indonesian ‘laizze faire’ attitude. You simply can’t do that with Nuclear Reactors and Nuclear Waste, when the chance of an earthquake or volcano eruption is more imminent here than anywhere else. Some money will change hands and things will go awfully wrong. Even strict rules aren’t enough, as the Japanese example show – and they are perfectionists. So why not use alternative energy forms like water, wind, geothermal – which are less damaging and better for the environment. Indonesia has all those in abundance, so why not stay away from Nuclear. :-/

  10. James The Professional AdventurerNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    A good idea but the Indonesian government can’t even complete the metro line they started like 5 years ago

    Honestly… expecting the indo government to do anything monumental like this is a pipe dream – more likely half the money would go towards buying condos for ministers mistresses at Tmn Rasuna and the other half would just end up half-building some sort of monstrosity of a volcano power plant

  11. ByamatoNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    re: ‘laizze faire’ attitude.

    Exactly. One of my main concerns why we should never build a nuclear powered plant here. Ever.
    The fact that the technocrats are keenly pushing the plans, even by dubious statements like “the public support it”, is only making it more obvious.

  12. Ardiansyah TeddyNo Gravatar JAPAN Says:

    What do you mean by “green”? Don`t you know that nuclear power plant does not emit CO2. Geothermal power plants emit CO2 and others dangerous chemical substances. I don`t think geothermal is a “green” energy source. I don`t understand with your point of minor consequences using geothermal. Do you think environmental pollution due to geothermal power plants activity is minor? Nuclear power plant is safe to be built in Indonesia. IAEA already agreed with the site, that means everything is fine, even though Indonesia is surrounded by volcanoes and earthquakes. So I think nuclear power plant is a “green” and safe to be built in Indonesia. If you want to discuss more about nuclear energy, you can discuss with me.

    Ardiansyah Teddy
    Integrated Doctoral Education student of Nuclear Engineering
    Tokyo Institute of Technology

  13. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Ardiansyah Teddy, do you mean Nuclear Plants are more ‘green’ than Geothermal plants? Can you please detail that a bit?

    What I see, with Geothermal Plants, there are no chemicals added or waste created, which can’t be disposed over many hundreds of years.

    Nuclear plants might not emit CO2 right now, but the nuclear waste is much worse and nobody even found a solution for that, until now.

    As well, even most 1st world countries can’t run them safe, just last week there were 2 incidents in France, we had some in Germany before, the UK had a few near disasters a few years back (e.g. in Sellafield). In the recent Tokyo earthquake, nuclear plants had to be shut down as well. Imagine Nuclear Plants in Indonesia and for me that’s a recipe for disaster!

  14. Teddy ArdiansyahNo Gravatar JAPAN Says:

    In providing energy one can not just think about power generation, but also thermal efficiency and other factors concerned. Some disadvantages of geothermal are:
    1. It has low efficiency and low power generation. Thermodynamics law stated that the higher the temperature, the higher the efficiency. The temperature for geothermal power plant is not high enough compare to the fossil or nuclear power plant. Nuclear power plant can operate at 300 degree C, while geothermal is lower than that. That means fossil and nuclear power plants have higher thermal efficiency than geothermal. One geothermal power plant (well) can produce around a few kilo watts/mega watts, while one nuclear power plant can produce up to 1000 MW. You can not use electricity from geothermal for industrial use, only for domestics use that close to the plant sites. Industries need higher power of several hundred MW, and it can only be achieved by nuclear or fossil power plants. Whether you like or not, fossil and nuclear power plants are the only answers for industries.
    2. The steam coming out from geothermal contains CO2, nitric oxide, and sulfur. These gases are very poisonous. In Dieng, central java, hundreds of people died because they inhaled the steam coming out from geothermal. This is a fact. Hot water coming from geothermal also contains mercury, arsenic, antimony, etc. These are dangerous elements if released to the environment or disposed into rivers. Nuclear power plants definitely do not emits such kinds of substances. Yes, radiations are emitted from nuclear power plants but still below the limit prescribed by the IAEA.
    3. The fluid from geothermal is corrosive to the plant pipes. More maintenance works needed to replace the corrosive pipes. The corrosive pipes can allow fluids that contains dangerous elements as I mentioned in no.2 above to penetrate into the piping systems and damage the inner parts of the plant systems, as well as lower its efficiency.
    4. The geothermal well can dry up and can not be used again to produce electricity. That means geothermal is not renewable. You have to find another well and build another geothermal power plant.

  15. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Funnily – even Google jumped now on the Geothermal wagon. They want to invest 10 Mio Dollar in “enhanced geothermal systems” (EGS) to improve the potential of geothermal energy, which harnesses the heat of Earth’s core to generate power.

    Not much, but a start. :-B

  16. Teddy ArdiansyahNo Gravatar JAPAN Says:

    Good then.

  17. camillaNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    i heard indonesia have most volcano :-B

  18. SallyNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Does anyone know if construction has begun? Information is hard to find on it.

  19. hiraNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    our goverment only sleeping around and eat wage without work, we only people not goverment so everthing like that shit depend on our goverment.

  20. harinder singhNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    i like geo tharmal

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