Jakarta. The second unit of the Sarulla geothermal power plant in Tapanuli, North Sumatra, started commercial operation this week, moving Indonesia a step closer to become the second largest geothermal producer in the world by the end of this year.
The new unit increases the plant's total capacity to 220 megawatts. Eventually, the plant will produce 330 megawatts of power when its third and last unit goes online next year, making it the largest geothermal facility in the country.
"The new supply of electricity generated from this project is expected to contribute to the economic development of Indonesia, where demand for electricity is growing," Japan's Inpex Corporation, one of the investors in the project, said in a statement on Tuesday (10/10).
Inpex owns a 18.25 percent stake in the project. Itochu Corporation and Kyushu Electric Power, also from Japan, each commands a 25 percent stake, and US-based Ormat Technologies commands 12.75 percent.
Medco Power Indonesia — controlled by Medco Energi Internasional after it bought off partner Saratoga Power earlier this week — has a 19 percent stake in the project.
Sarulla will sell electricity to state utility firm Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) over a period of 30 years.
Indonesia sits over the largest geothermal power reserves in the world, with an estimated total capacity of 28,994 megawatts.
But the country's geothermal power production still lags behind the United States, which produces 3,450 megawatts and the Philippines, second in the world after the US, which produces 1,870 megawatts.
By the end of June, Indonesia produces around 1,698 megawatts of geothermal power. It aims to be the the second largest geothermal power producer in the world by the end of this year, with a total capacity of 1,908 megawatts.