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Asian Development Bank

100 Climate Actions from Cities in Asia and the Pacific


Two new power plants with a combined 170 megawatts (MW) of power in West Sumatra will be mining energy from Indonesia’s rich geothermal resources, to help meet the country’s long-term renewable energy goals.

Among the volcanic mountains and tropical rainforests of the Indonesian island of Sumatra lie two of the country’s most recent geothermal plants. The 80 MW and 90 MW plants close to the cities of Padang and Pagar Alam respectively, will save a combined estimated 870,000 tons of CO2 emissions every year.



On the edge of the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire, Indonesia is one of the world’s most tectonically active regions. The country has an estimated 40% of the world’s total geothermal energy capacity, but in 2016 was only harnessing 5% of the total. In an effort to decarbonize the economy and meet the goal of reducing emissions by 29% by 2030 compared to business as usual, the country is ramping up efforts in geothermal energy production.

ADB provided loans totalling over $240 million and administered co-financing from other sources for the two projects which came to a combined cost of over $1.3 billion.

Padang’s new 80 MW geothermal plant came online at the end of 2019 and the Pagar Alam plant will be finished in 2021 (photo by ADB).

The Challenge

Geothermal power generation is the dominant alternative to displace fossil-fuel generated power in West Sumatra’s grid, but exploration costs and the risks of proving and managing the geothermal steam resources are high.


Economic Geothermal power is constant, unlike variable renewable energies like solar or wind power, so it can act as a baseline power supply for Indonesia.

Health Geothermal power has the added benefits that it does not lead to the same levels of harmful air pollution as fossil fuel-based power generation.

Social The project is expected to generate new jobs and provide additional income sources for the community.