Asia Minute: Local Link with Indonesia Geothermal Business Deal

Apr 24, 2017

Credit ThinkGeoEnergy / Flickr

Vice President Mike Pence is stopping in Hawai‘i as he wraps up a 10 day visit to the Asia Pacific. As part of that trip, U.S. firms signed a number of business deals—including at least one with links to Hawai‘i. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


When it comes to the potential for geothermal energy, there’s no place quite like Indonesia.

With its scores of active volcanoes, industry estimates put 40 percent of the world’s geothermal reserves in the country.

It’s the potential that years ago captured the attention of Ormat Technologies.

That name might sound familiar because it’s the parent company of Puna Geothermal Venture which runs a geothermal operation on Hawai‘i Island, the only one in the state, with a generating capacity of 38 megawatts.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that’s about 2 percent of the state’s electricity needs.

Ormat has bigger plans for Indonesia and so does the local government.

President Joko Widodo wants to make Indonesia the world’s top producer of geothermal energy.

Ormat has been involved in a 2 billion dollar geothermal project in North Sumatra for more than four years…partnering with Toshiba.

More than a quarter of a billion dollars of that is Ormat equipment.

The agreement is not a new one, but it was part of a list the White House put together under the headline of “commercial deliverables.”

It’s a common practice to attach commercial deals with political visits.

But in this case some old business appears to be part of the accounting that adds up to ten billion dollars of deals between the U.S. and Indonesia.