Indonesian woman engaged in geothermal research, Ir. Pri Utami, M.Sc., Ph.D., was elected as Vice President of the International Geothermal Association (IGA). In an election involving more than 4,000 members from 65 countries, the UGM Geology Lecturer ranked on the second position from the international non-profit organization that promotes the utilization of geothermal energy.
This woman who was born in Surabaya said that she did not expect to be elected as IGA vice president who was established in early June online. According to her, she might be chosen as a candidate for the Indonesian geothermal association in the election. Not only that, but she also received support from fellow researchers in the UK, America and New Zealand.
The Head of the Geothermal Research Center at the Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) said she was grateful to be given the mandate to improve the utilization of geothermal energy globally. “Every country truly has the potential in developing geothermal energy, it’s just that we have not optimally utilized it,” said the woman who was a lot of researching the potential of geothermal resources in Indonesia on Wednesday (8/7).
Before being elected as IGA vice president, Pri Utami was known as a geothermal energy expert from the UGM campus. She did a lot of research in the field of indigenous animals in Indonesia. Besides, she also collaborates with the geothermal industry, international organizations and serves as chairman of the Indonesian geothermal association. In her remarks, UGM’s contribution to encouraging geothermal energy research made him more widely known by universities abroad and several countries interested in developing geothermal energy. “I was invited by the United Nations, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia about Indonesia’s experience in developing geothermal energy,” she said.
IGA, said Pri Utami, is an international organization in the field of geothermal energy which has always provided input to the United Nations and heads of government regarding the utilization of geothermal energy. Therefore, when she enters the organization’s highest leadership until 2023, she wants to make IGA better known for initiating the use of geothermal energy and introducing geothermal energy among the younger generation. “I need to acknowledge many people about geothermal energy. We want to establish international cooperation, exchange of knowledge and technology in managing geothermal resources,” she said.
According to her, what has been an obstacle so far in the utilization of geothermal energy potential is the lack of partisanship and ignorance of policymakers about geothermal energy as renewable energy. Therefore, she will encourage more research and education activities on geothermal energy. Pri Utami admitted that currently geothermal energy is only being used for electricity generation. The costs for geothermal energy exploration do indeed require substantial and long-term costs because they adjust the desired level of electrical power requirements. “It used to take up to 10-15 years for one exploration location to be able to produce, but now with existing technology and knowledge, it is enough for 5-6 years to be able to produce,” she said.
Although the cost required is not small, she added, the electricity generated can last for hundreds of years if appropriately managed by utilizing rainwater into the bowels of the earth. “Besides being clean, it can last for hundreds to thousands of years,” she said.
According to her, not only in Indonesia but all parts of the world has also not yet optimized the utilization of the potential of geothermal energy. She mentioned that Indonesia has the potential for geothermal energy up to 20,000 Megawatts spread over several points. However, to date, only 2,113 Megawatts have been utilized. According to her, the biggest obstacle in the management of geothermal energy aside from the matter of cost, the commitment of policymakers and readiness of human resources is still a limiting factor.
Through IGA, said Pri Utami, she wanted to contribute more to foster international cooperation with various heads of governments, world organizations, industries and educational institutions to encourage education and research in the field of geothermal energy to progress and develop.
Author: Gusti Grehenson
Translator: Natasa Adelayanti