The Indonesian government will soon issue a decree allowing geothermal mining in protected forests, reports The Jakarta Post.
Mining of any kind is currently prohibited in protected forest areas, but because the government says geothermal mining is “environmentally friendly” it would be allowed. Geothermal would enable Indonesia to reduce its dependence on oil, reserves of which are fast being depleted. Geothermal might also reduce reliance on coal, although much of Indonesia’s coal is sold to overseas markets.
Indonesia already has an ambitious plan to expand geothermal power production. The country is estimated to have geothermal potential of around 28,000 megawatts, much of which is in forest areas, according to Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan.
“Around 80 percent of our geothermal reserves are located in protected forests,” Zulkifli was quoted as saying by detikfinance.com. “We’re now waiting for the completion of a presidential decree on underground mining activities, because geothermal mining is included in that mining type.”
Al Gore highlighted Indonesia’s ample geothermal resources during a speech last week in Jakarta.