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Govt establishes renewable energy directorate general

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The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has established a new directorate general for managing renewable energy and energy conservation.

The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has established a new directorate general for managing renewable energy and energy conservation.

Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Darwin Zahedy Saleh appointed Luluk Sumiarso as the inaugural director general for renewable energy and energy conservation on Tuesday. “The establishment of the directorate general marks our efforts to prepare for alternative energy,” Darwin said.

He added that Luluk had to immediately formulate a road map for new and renewable energy development as well as for energy conservation.

Luluk’s previously advised the minister on technology and human resources issues. He has held several strategic positions in the ministry, including a stint as director general for oil and gas and director general for electricity and energy utilization.

The government has been mulling new and renewable energy development following declining oil production that forced Indonesia to pull out of OPEC in 2008.

To reduce fossil fuel consumption, the government has mandated fuel retailers to mix biofuel in their products since 2008. Currently, the country produces bioethanol and biodiesel. Subsidized premium gasoline contains at least 1 percent of bioethanol, while subsidized diesel contains at least 5 percent of biodiesel.

Indonesia is the largest producer of crude palm oil — the source of most biofuels — with production estimated to hit 21.5 million tons this year.

The ministry’s directorate general for oil and gas said the country produced 4.1 million kiloliters of biodiesel per year and 120,000 kiloliters of bioethanol per year. The ministry estimates biofuel consumption to reach 777,075 kiloliters this year. The volume is expected to increase to 982,000 kiloliters next year.

Indonesia also expects to boost the use of geothermal energy in its power sector. Indonesia’s geothermal capacity is estimated to be around 28,000 megawatts, but only about 5 percent of the total capacity has been developed.

The government expects to generate 3,977 megawatts more from geothermal sources in the second phase of its fast-track electricity generation program, which is expected to be completed by 2014.

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