It’s a little-known fact that Indonesia is the Saudi Arabia of geothermal energy, with 40% of the world’s reserves. Only about 1,200 megawatts of that energy has been explored, though, falling well below the government’s policy of reaching 9,500 megawatts by 2025 and putting Indonesia behind the United States and the Philippines in geothermal energy development.

US$12 billion in foreign investment is needed to fulfill the goal and Indonesia making arrangements, with tax exemptions and energy sale guarantees on offer. The World Bank promises to inject $400 million and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono courted Turkish investors in his address to the Turkish Parliament this year, with one company signing a memorandum of understanding.

Trade delegates and companies  with geothermal experience say more barriers will need to disappear, and procedures become more transparent, before the the huge costs of exploration can be justified. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said he was hopeful those costs would come down as technology advances.

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