Geothermal Energy: Saving the Climate from Fossil Fuels Danger

Written by: Revadhia H. A. & Edward F. S.

Designed by: Dewi Wulandari

The world is currently experiencing climate disparities which are changing not according to the scale as it should be. Climate change is a condition where there is a significant change in climate, rainfall, or air temperature within a certain period of time. This significant climate change is caused by one of the human activities, namely the widespread use of fossil fuels to fulfill life which is increasingly indifferent to the adverse impacts it has on the local environment or globally. This fossil fuel was formed from the decomposition of buried carbon-based organisms that died millions years ago and are used again by today’s humans to be processed into energy that can meet their daily needs. When these fossil fuels are burned, they release large amounts of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses into the air which trap heat in our atmosphere and cause global warming. In fact, right now, the world is experiencing the fastest warming in history.

Furthermore, toxic gasses like nitrous oxide and methane, as well as particles from fossil fuels, are the primary causes of air pollution-related fatalities globally and have a negative impact on human health in general. Fossil fuels have an impact on the state of the oceans as well. Because oceans absorb a considerable amount of CO2, they become increasingly acidic. The ocean’s acidity has increased by 30% since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution as a result of our coal-burning activities. On top of that, it is expected that we will run out of fossil fuels this century. As a result, we require alternative energy that is both environmentally friendly and renewable.

In the midst of the widespread use of fossil fuels which have a negative impact on the global environment, geothermal energy can be the best alternative in reaching the human needs. Geothermal energy is non-fossil energy that can reduce carbon emissions because this energy is considered environmentally friendly because it has the smallest emissions compared to fossil energy. For example, the massive use of fossil fuels as a product of a Steam Power Plant (PLTU) can be replaced by utilizing geothermal energy as a Geothermal Powered Power Plant (PLTPB) which is produced from heat energy contained in the layers of the earth’s crust. Currently, the number of countries that directly use geothermal resources has increased from 28 in 1995 to 88 in 2015. Awareness of scientific advances in utilizing geothermal energy still needs to be increased, especially for potential countries, such as Indonesia. Indonesia has a very large resource content in terms of geothermal, if it can be developed then it will have an effective impact on reducing carbon emissions and mitigating the climate crisis. It is quite unfortunate that the contribution and consumption of geothermal energy in Indonesia is still quite small, at 8.17%, and the generation of geothermal energy in Indonesia is also in a small number. This is included in the small category and cannot be said to be optimal, related to Indonesia’s commitment to achieving the renewable energy target in 2025 of 23% and in 2050 of 50%. Energy consumption will continue to increase; Therefore, geothermal energy must also contribute both in electricity generation and heating.

There are various advantages of using geothermal energy over fossil fuels. Geothermal costs less. Since no fuel is purchased and the facility costs are essentially fixed, the cost of geothermal energy production is constant during the course of the facility. It also provides a continuous source of energy all the time. Moreover, geothermal energy has a higher capacity factor. Geothermal power plants can produce up to 95%, much higher than the capacity factor of coal plants, which is only 60-70%. Most importantly, geothermal energy is a renewable source because it comes from the earth’s core and the fluid is circulated back to the earth. Also, geothermal energy produces the least amount of pollution and greenhouse gasses. More interesting, geothermal energy can be found everywhere all around the world. However, there are several countries with higher geothermal potential, including Indonesia. Indonesia’s geothermal energy potential is around 40% of the world’s geothermal energy potential or approximately 23,9 GW. This placed Indonesia as the second country in the world with the most geothermal energy potential after the United States of America. As stated before, Indonesia still has a large amount of unused geothermal energy. Luckily, the Indonesian government has taken steps to harness this geothermal energy by establishing PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy (PGE). PGE presently manages 13 geothermal operating zones, which have the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by about 9.7 million tonnes annually. Considering all of the advantages mentioned above, geothermal energy could be one of Indonesia’s finest options for achieving the Net-Zero Goal as well as saving the environment from the dangers of fossil fuels.

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